NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE
JANUARY 2011

Go to a certain date in this month:
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    News from January 31, 2011

  • 3M NASCAR Guru Larry Swope to Retire: Larry Swope, a 34-year veteran of 3M and the moving force behind the company's involvement in NASCAR, has elected to retire March 1, 2011. Larry joined 3M in 1977 after 10 years at Goodyear. His leadership with 3M's NASCAR program has helped 3M become an industry icon within the sport and among sponsors, as well as drive growth via the various business units that utilize one of 3M's best assets. Larry founded and oversaw the 3M program that includes primary sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing’s #16 3M Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 3M continues to support NASCAR as a Prize Money & Decal Program (contingency) sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, and as an official partner of NASCAR in many product categories. In addition, Larry has been a fixture in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup garages for years, leading key customers through the garages for an up-close look at the world of NASCAR.(3M)(1-31-2011)

  • Furniture Row Racing Details Season Plans: The third day of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway began with a breakfast visit to the Charlotte, N.C., area’s new Furniture Row retail store and its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race team. This marked the first time in the 29-year history of the tour that participants visited a retail store for a presentation. Regan Smith, 2008 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, will drive Furniture Row Racing’s (FRR) #78 Chevy. Smith was the first rookie in Cup history to finish every race he started. FRR is based in Denver, Colo., far removed from most of the other NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. Mark McArdle is FRR’s managing director of competition and Pete Rondeau will resume his role as crew chief for 2011. General Manager Joe Garone spoke of the team’s 2011 season plans. “We wanted to get one team working very well. We feel that with the addition of the guys we have, we are getting there. And, we would really like to get a second team going. One of the biggest advantages for us is that we are a fully funded race team, but we are actively seeking sponsorship to get a second team going.”(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-31-2011)

  • Daytona Unveils New Mobile Website, Fan Texting Service Returns for Speedweeks 2011: As part of its ongoing effort to enhance fan communication and safety while providing timely information, Daytona International Speedway announced the debut of its mobile website. With the new mobile web site, fans can now access vital ticket and race weekend information directly from their smart phones. In addition, speedway officials announced the return of the Fan Texting Service, allowing fans to communicate directly with officials on property to report a safety issue, ask a seating question or request general assistance. The fan texting code will be highly visible via signage throughout the entire Daytona International Speedway property, including parking areas, merchandise and vendor midway areas, the infield, and grandstand seats.(DIS)(1-31-2011)


    News from January 30, 2011

  • Ganassi wins Rolex 24; TRG wins touring class: America's longest endurance race came down to a one-lap sprint. No surprise, the winner ended up being the guy with more wins in the Grand-Am Series than anybody else. Three-time and defending series champion Scott Pruett drove the last leg of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and held off Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon during a final restart. Pruett's smooth restart helped him pull away from Dixon and third-place finisher Joao Barbosa after the green-white restart and clinch the Daytona Prototype class by 2.42 seconds. It was Pruett's 32nd win in the series and his fourth Rolex 24 victory (1994, 2007, 2008). It could be his most meaningful, too. This one capped the "Ganassi Slam." Ganassi became the only car owner to win the four biggest races in the United States during a 12-month period. His drivers won the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 last year. Andy Lally led TRG Racing to a two-lap victory in the Grand Touring class. Lally claimed the pole, but started in the back of the field after failing post-qualifying inspection. The team drove the final 17 hours without a clutch.()(1-30-2011)

  • Biffle and Edwards on TV Sunday: Roush Fenway Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards will appear on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to demonstrate the dangers of texting and driving. The show will air on Sunday, January 30, at 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC. The RFR teammates' appearance is in support of the Brown family of Wellman, Texas who lost their daughter in a tragic auto accident involving texting and driving. Since the accident the family has dedicated their lives to communicating the dangers of this practice. Biffle and Edwards are joined by Justin Beiber and Emma Roberts on the show.(Roush Fenway)
    AND: Carl Edwards will also be a special guest on FOX's Pro Bowl coverage on Sunday. He will be featured during the pre-game show and on live during the halftime show to promote the Daytona 500.(Roush Fenway Facebook Page)(1-30-2011)

  • Bowles wins Toyota Showdown: Jason Bowles won the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Saturday night, beating Canadian D.J. Kennington by 0.501 seconds on the half-mile track. Bowles, the 2009 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion from Ontario, Calif., took the lead on the final restart in the 225-lap race that was slowed by 11 cautions. Kennington, the 2010 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion, gave Toyota a sweep of the top two spots in his first start at Irwindale. Jonathon Gomez was third, followed by Luis Martinez Jr., Johnny Borneman, action sports star Travis Pastrana, Derek Thorn, Travis Motley, Moses Smith and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Steve Wallace.(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-30-2011)

  • Schrader inducted in Missouri Sports Hall of Fame: Ken Schrader never envisioned starting 744 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, making millions of dollars along the way and becoming a hall-of-famer. "All I ever wanted to do was ride around in circles," Schrader said this week. "I never thought it would go quite this far." Tonight, when he trades his firesuit and helmet for a suit and tie, Schrader will add the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame to his vast résumé. Fellow St. Louisan Rusty Wallace, a retired NASCAR great, and the late Larry Phillips, a renowned short-track champion from Springfield, already are in the Missouri hall.(Springfield News Leader)(1-30-2011)

  • Ford Racing Presents Special Award to Kennedy: Ford Motor Company presented the Spirit of Ford Award to Kevin Kennedy, director of Ford Racing public affairs for PCGCampbell, during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour visit to Roush Fenway Racing. The presentation marked just the 25th time in the 110 year history of Ford that the award had been given out. Previous winners include Jack Roush; NASCAR's Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr.; and racing legends Mario Andretti, John Force and Richard Petty.(CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-30-2011)

  • Lionel NASCAR Collectibles launches website: Lionel NASCAR Collectables, the official die-cast of NASCAR, announced the re-launch of www.rccamembers.com which can also be reached through www.lionelnascar.com. The launch is the first phase of a multi-step web rollout that will give die-cast collectors enhanced functionality and the opportunity to interact with Lionel NASCAR Collectables via the company's new social media presence. Customers can visit the newly designed site, browse through existing product, and pre-order 2011 die-cast cars. More products will be added in the coming weeks, with the new site becoming fully integrated by mid-March. Lionel NASCAR Collectables recently hired Michelle Fannin as social media manager. In her newly created role, Fannin will oversee the company's social media presence across a variety of channels - including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the new corporate blog.(Lionel NASCAR)(1-30-2011)

  • Iowa Speedway names Director of Media Relations: Rob Gray, a sports reporter at The Des Moines Register for 10 years, has joined the Iowa Speedway to serve as Director of Media Relations. Gray's duties will include, but not be limited to, writing articles for IowaSpeedway.com, coordinating the release of track-related information to accredited media outlets, and assisting members of all media before, during and after the four race weekends slated for 2011 at "America's Place to Race.'" Gray covered every race at Iowa Speedway for the Register.(Iowa Speedway)(1-30-2011)


    News from January 29, 2011

  • Thorn on pole for Toyota Showdown: Derek Thorn won the pole Friday night for Saturday's NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Toyota Speedway and hopes his success will garner a little attention. Thorn put his car on the pole against a talented field of drivers that included Steve Wallace from the Nationwide Series and action sports star Travis Pastrana. Wallace will start 16th in the 225-lap Showdown. Pastrana will start 20th. Sergio Pena, who won the pole for last year's Showdown and finished second to Joey Logano, posted the slowest qualifying time of the 46 drivers entered in the race. Thorn's team brought one car to the Showdown, but it was enough. His time was 18.334 seconds on the half-mile oval. He said starting out front definitely will be an advantage because he will be able to stay out of trouble at the start of the race. Greg Pursley, of Newhall, Calif., will start second. Sean Caisse, who started five Nationwide races last year, will start third.(NASCAR)(1-29-2011)

  • TRG to run full season; no deal with Waltrip for Daytona 500: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Michael Waltrip will be forced to qualify for the 2011 Daytona 500 on speed, after a potential transfer of owner points from TRG Motorsports did not materialize earlier this week. The #71 TRG Motorsports Chevys finished 35th in Sprint Cup owner points a year ago, securing a guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of this season. TRG owner Kevin Buckler told Sirius Speedway that his team is geared up to run the entire 2011 championship schedule, and will announce a driver and sponsor lineup next week.(Sirius Speedway)(1-29-2011)

  • Ford Mustang in Cup in 2013? Although Jamie Allison, Ford's director of motorsports, stopped short of saying the Mustang will replace the Fusion as the automaker's entry in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in 2013, it's abundantly clear Ford is leaning heavily in that direction. "We like what's going on in Nationwide-we really do," Allison told Sporting News. "The more brand identity we have … and Mustang is the most identifiable brand we have in terms of racing and motorsports. So we've made it known that we'd like to see Mustang in NASCAR. We're going to see and track how the Nationwide Series is going and how the Mustang's impacting that and how much we can bring more brand identity into these cars, and then we'll make a decision on what we're putting in Cup."(Sporting News)(1-29-2011)

  • Johnson not doing Indy 500/Coke 600 double: Although the proposal has drifted out of the public domain for several months, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has not stopped working on million-dollar bonuses to entice drivers to compete in both of the Memorial Day weekend races: the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600. The concept would include a $20 million bonus to the driver who wins both events in the same day, and perhaps smaller bonuses for any driver winning one race and finishing in the top five of the other. One of Bernard's dream drivers won't participate, this year or probably any year. Jimmie Johnson, the five-time reigning NASCAR champion who has never driven an Indy car, said he would decline for family reasons. Bernard is still hoping for a commitment from Kasey Kahne or Juan Pablo Montoya, but no one has suggested a deal will materialize for the 100th-anniversary 500 in May. Sam Hornish Jr. is without a Sprint Cup ride this season but has not expressed interest in returning to Indy cars.(Indianapolis Star)(1-29-2011)

  • Homestead Names New VP of Sales & Marketing: Shawn McGee has been named Vice-President of Sales & Marketing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. McGee joins the Speedway from the Atlanta Beat of Women.s Professional Soccer, where he ran the professional soccer franchise as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer. McGee brings more than 15 years of professional and collegiate sports experience to Homestead-Miami Speedway, spending 10 years with Dallas Burn/FC Dallas in Major League Soccer (1997-2007) and two years as associate athletics director at Southern Methodist University (2007-09) prior to taking the head reins of the Atlanta Beat (2009-11). McGee attended the University of North Texas and is married with two children. For information and tickets visit HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.(1-29-2011)


    News from January 28, 2011

  • Edwards wants to move forward with contract renewal: UPDATE: Name your price. That's what Carl Edwards is in position to do as the highest-profile free agent in Sprint Cup racing. That notion, however, runs contrary to Edwards' desire to wrap up contract talks quickly and decisively, the way he did in 2008 when he announced an agreement with owner Jack Roush on May 2, put contract questions to rest and concentrated on driving the #99 Ford. "I'd like to be able to get it done, so that we can just keep focused on winning, and that's the most important thing," Edwards told Sporting News on Wednesday during a Sprint Cup media tour stop at the Roush Fenway hangar at Concord airport. Doubtless Edwards will test the market, and he'll choose his next ride - or decide to stay at Roush Fenway - based on the situation he believes will provide the best opportunity for success.(Sporting News)(1-28-2011)
    UPDATE: Team co-owner Jack Roush did not mince words when it came his driver lineup beyond 2011. Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and David Ragan are all up for renewal. Roush "expects" all three drivers to return. "Preliminary discussions are underway with David, with Carl and with Greg and last year we made a decision going forward with Matt," Roush said. "But Jack Roush is not front-line when negotiating with the drivers. I try to keep my focus and my attention on the drivers not based on competitive, commercial interest but on the things that we can do cooperatively to improve our competition prospects on the racetrack. "The fact is I don't know what the windows are for negotiations for our drivers, I don't need to know because Steve Newman and the other people in his area are looking into that. When I need to sign something or make an approval for an agreement that's on the table, they'll bring it to me. Until then I'm blissfully ignorant of what's going (on)." With mediocre results, Ragan's future will be predicated on performance.(Fox Sports)(1-28-2011)

  • Late season race times moved to avoid conflict with NFL: NASCAR will stray from last year's standardized start times this season in an effort to boost sagging television ratings. Specifically NASCAR races in the last third of the season will slide back to a later green flag to avoid going head-to-head with NFL kickoffs. While the majority of the races televised in the first half of the year as part of the FOX television package will remain in the 1 p.m. ET start range, green flags will slide back later in the year. A 2 p.m. ET beginning is the plan for most of the races in September through November with west coast venues including Texas and Phoenix near the tail end of the schedule, going to a 3 p.m. ET start. The Homestead-Miami season-ending Ford 400 will also begin at 3 p.m. ET.(CBS Sports)(1-28-2011)

  • Roush adjusting to life with one eye: Jack Roush took a good ribbing at the end of last season about being "one-eyed Jack." Well, now he in a way is back to two eyes. Roush lost the vision in his left eye in a July 27 plane crash. He had a prosthetic eye put in around Thanksgiving. "My prosthetic eye is doing very well," Roush said Thursday during the Sprint Media Tour. "I haven't had any infection from it, I haven't had any problem of any kind with it. Nine days ago, I had some cosmetic surgery so I've still got a little swelling for that," Roush said. "I've had no complication at all from any of the surgeries I had. I sleep well. My corrected vision with my reading glasses is 20/15 and I've adjusted to having one eye as well as [I could]."(Scene Daily)(1-28-2011)

  • Sprint unveils Miss Sprint Cup lineup: With just a few weeks remaining until the Sprint Cup Series season gets under way, Sprint unveiled its 2011 Miss Sprint Cup lineup. Returning Miss Sprint Cup representatives Paige Duke and Monica Palumbo were joined by newcomer Kim Coon. Since its inception in 2007, the Miss Sprint Cup program has gained tremendous popularity among both race fans and industry members alike. Although their most visible role is representing the Sprint brand in every Sprint Cup Series Victory Lane celebration, it's a small portion of the overall job responsibilities for the Miss Sprint Cup lineup. Coon was pulled from the world of corporate marketing to join the Miss Sprint Cup lineup. Born and raised in Orlando, Fla., Coon received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a master's degree from the University of Alabama. Always on the go, she's balanced a career in marketing and PR with her role as an NFL cheerleader and a volunteer with the Susan G. Komen For the Cure campaign.(Sprint PR)(1-28-2011)

  • Bristol Chamber honors Jeff Byrd: Fighting back tears, Claudia Byrd composed herself enough to smile briefly for the cameras Wednesday while accepting recognition for her late husband. The Bristol Chamber of Commerce presented a posthumous lifetime achievement award and announced a new scholarship named in Jeff Byrd's honor, during its 101st annual awards celebration. Byrd, the former president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway who died in October after a battle with cancer, was praised for his leadership in civic, charitable and chamber affairs. He was a longtime member of the chamber's board of directors and a former board president. The new Jeff Byrd Exceeding Expectations Scholarship will be available to seniors at Virginia High and Tennessee High in Bristol, Sullivan East and Sullivan Central in Tennessee and John S. Battle High in Virginia. Other award winners included Lori Worley of Bristol Motor Speedway, who won the Convention and Visitors Bureau Service Award.(Bristol Herald Courier)(1-28-2011)

  • Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence announced: The 26th annual Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence ceremony was held Thursday, honoring five individuals with the coveted accolades in motorsports media. This year's recipients were Nate Ryan (USA Today), Lauren Stowell (ESPN), Kris Johnson (NASCAR Illustrated), Mark Rebilas (US Presswire) and Brian Tetzler (KWGN/KDVR) for exceptional motorsports media coverage in 2010. The ceremony, which honors the legacy of motorsports journalism pioneer Russ Catlin, was orchestrated by Aflac, the #1 provider of voluntary and guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States, and held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Aflac Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize the best motorsports coverage in five categories, including Daily and Other Writing, Local and National Broadcast, and Photojournalism. More than 150 entries were submitted this year, making it one of the most competitive seasons to date.(Breaking Limits)(1-28-2011)


    News from January 27, 2011

  • NASCAR names members of Communications team: NASCAR announced two key additions to the Integrated Marketing Communications team. Kristi King, who has 17 years of public relations and marketing experience in NASCAR racing, has been named director of communications, competition and joins the sanctioning body's Integrated Marketing Communications team. Steve Pegram brings more than 15 years of experience working with high-profile brands, sports and entertainment properties across multiple marketing and promotional platforms and has been appointed director of stakeholder communications. Most recently, he has worked with Motorsports Management International, the leading driver management firm, and Red Bull Energy Drink, where he oversaw motorsports communications and played an instrumental role in launching the start-up Red Bull Racing NASCAR team. King, who will be based at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., has worked at Talladega Superspeedway for the past 6½ years. She was the track's director of public relations from 2004-08 before being promoted to senior director of communications and consumer marketing in 2008. NASCAR veteran Jennifer Powell has been promoted to senior manager, stakeholder communications and will report to Pegram as they collaborate on establishing the department.(NASCAR)(1-27-2010)

  • Congrats: Jack Roush announced Thursday during the Charlotte Media Tour that the wives of #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle, and #17-Matt Kenseth are all expecting babies this year.(1-27-2011)
    UPDATE: Greg Biffle tweeted Thursday: "Its a girl!!!! Barbie doll not a fishing rod"
    AND: Edwards' is due around Darlington week in May.
    AND: Kenseth's baby is due in late April, Biffle's on July 10.(Scene Daily)(1-27-2010)

  • Roush Fenway partners with Navistar: Roush Fenway Racing has announced a multi-year organization-wide partnership with Navistar. The agreement will see all Roush Fenway haulers transported to all tests and races behind Navistar's International LoneStar Series Diesel Trucks.(Roush Fenway Racing)(1-27-2011)

  • Motorcraft renews with Wood Brothers; team will honor Pearson at Daytona: After 61 years in the NASCAR racing business, the Wood Brothers have two long-standing relationships that stand above the rest - their ties to Ford Motor Company and to David Pearson. Both of them will be prominently represented on their #21 Ford for the 2011 season. Ford Customer Service Division is returning as the team's primary sponsor with its Motorcraft and Quick Lane brands for the 11th straight season, and the team has dedicated its year to Pearson in honor of his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The season-opening paint scheme, a red-and-white car with gold numbers, is the same as the Woods ran on the 1971 Mercury that Pearson began driving at Darlington in the spring of 1972.(Wood Brothers), see an image of the car on my #21 team paint schemes page.(1-27-2011)

  • Congrats: Jack Roush announced Thursday during the Charlotte Media Tour that the wives of #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle, and #17-Matt Kenseth are all expecting babies this year.(1-27-2011)

  • Some additional notes about series changes:
    • The last two spots of the Chase will go to the drivers with the most wins who aren't in the top 10 in the standings, but still ranked in the top 20. If there's a tie, the playoff spot goes to the driver with the most points.
    • If no drivers have wins after the 10th position, the last two positions in the Chase will go to the 11th and 12th pace drivers.
    • The wild card drivers will receive no bonus points and will start with a base of 2,000 points. The previous Chase featured a 5,000-point base and 10 points per win to start the Chase.
    • Any penalties will be adjusted for the new system.Last year some penalties were as high as 150 points.
    • If qualifying gets rained out, drivers that make the race will be the same, based on the rule book (top 35, past champion, race winners, etc), but the starting positions will be deteremined by practice speeds.
    • Points will not be given to owners that do not make the race, but NASCAR will keep track of attempts.
    • There will be no changes to the top-35 rule.
    • No mention was made of altering race start times.
    (1-27-2011)

  • Mark Martin not finished after this year: Mark Martin may be in the final year of his NASCAR Sprint Cup contract with Hendrick Motorsports, but don't count him out of racing. Wednesday at the Hendrick Motorsports shop, Martin erased any doubt that he could be racing in 2012. "I'm absolutely, without a doubt, going to be driving race cars next year, just not going to be in any hurry to worry about that," he said. "I'm focused on 2011 and really enjoying being a part of Hendrick Motorsports." Asked further about the issue later, he said that it was too early to be even thinking in that direction and that it would be better to approach him about what he'll be racing, and for whom, late in the season.(Fox Sports)(1-27-2011)

  • Drive For Diversity Introduces 2011 Driver Lineup: NASCAR and Revolution Racing announced the 2011 driver lineup during NASCAR's annual Charlotte Media Tour at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. This year, the D4D initiative looks to build upon its success in 2010. Ten drivers will participate in the 2011 Drive for Diversity Program - four in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and six in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Last year, former Dale Earnhardt Inc. President Max Siegel created the Revolution Racing team along with former DEI and Robby Gordon Motorsports executive John Story. All 10 drivers will race for the team, which is headquartered in Mooresville, N.C.
    The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams are operated under the direction of four-time K&N Pro Series champion Andy Santerre, and the six NASCAR Whelen All-American Series teams are led by former Greenville-Pickens (S.C.) Speedway track champion Blair Addis. Revolution Racing is a minority owned NASCAR franchise whose mission is to develop minority and female drivers, pit crew members and mechanics through an "academy-style" training model. All D4D competitors relocated to Mooresville and entered the development program under the single team ownership structure.(NASCAR), for the complete list of drivers, see my Driver Development page.(1-27-2011)

  • Johnson, Earnhardt to have 3 pit crews available: #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a primarily new pit crew as part of a plan by crew chief Chad Knaus to shore up depth on the teams of Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Knaus and Steve Letarte, the crew chief for Earnhardt Jr., will take three pit crews to the track each weekend. That will give them a talent pool of 18 crewmen to draw on if they encounter injuries of performance problems. The lack of pit crew depth at HMS came under the spotlight during the Chase at Texas when Knaus swapped pit crews with Jeff Gordon's team in the middle of the race after the four-time champion crashed out. Knaus said four of the members of the #48 team before the swap remain in the mix for his crew, adding he has not finalized anything and probably won't have a set six for the entire season. The others have moved on to other organizations. The #24 team of Gordon and #5 of Mark Martin will work under a slightly different system, with six full-time crewmen for each car and another four to share between them for depth.(ESPN.com)(1-27-2011)

  • Richard Petty Motorsports owner interested in Danica, Bowyer: Now that Richard Petty Motorsports is on firm financial footing, don't be surprised if Danica Patrick is part of a conversation about the organization's future. Financier Andrew Murstein, one of Richard Petty's partners in the revamped RPM, thinks Patrick would be an excellent fit for the Sprint Cup team. When 2012 arrives, however, Murstein would like to see a third car in the stable, and Patrick, who currently drives part-time for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, is an intriguing possibility. Clint Bowyer of Richard Childress Racing is another driver who has caught Murstein's eye. Murstein said he eventually would like to see four Cup teams at RPM.(Sporting News)(1-27-2011)

  • Evernham concerned with owners' ability to walk away: Former Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday that he is troubled by the ability of owners to pull up stakes and leave the sport without paying their bills. While never identifying former partner George Gillett by name, Evernham said, "When a company goes out of business or leaves without paying people, it's not just drivers and crewchiefs (who are affected). There are tons of other people who get hurt. People are allowed to fly back to their lives on private jets, drink champagne and (go) skiing, while other people are left trying to figure out how to put food on the table. That kind of pisses me off. It's a shame that there are a lot of really good people who are owed a heck of a lot of money," said Evernham. "The press releases go out talking about how great everyone is doing now, and that's not totally true. There are a lot of people who have been left holding the bag, and a lot of people out of work. All you can do is hope that what goes around, comes around, and that the legal system -- or karma -- take care of it at some point."(Sirius Speedway)(1-27-2011)

  • Ned Jarrett recovering from heart procedure: Retired NASCAR champion and 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ned Jarrett is on the rebound after undergoing a heart procedure last month. Jarrett, scheduled to be inducted as part of the hall’s second class in May, experienced chest pains and had a pair of stents inserted to open blockages in a procedure Dec. 28, Jarrett said Wednesday. He underwent a similar procedure and had four stents inserted several years ago. Jarrett said Wednesday he is on the way to returning to normal after several weeks of recovering from the procedure and adjusting to medications.(SPEED)(1-27-2011)

  • Infineon Raceway Recycles More Than 67 Tons of Materials: Infineon Raceway has reaffirmed its position as an industry leader in recycling, collecting more than 67 tons of materials during the 2010 Big O Tires Racing Season. The raceway partnered with the Conservation Corps North Bay to collect 135,017 pounds of materials during the 2010 season, which included the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, IZOD IndyCar® Series and AMA Pro Road Racing event weekends. The raceway has collected more than 208 tons of materials (417,934 pounds) since the inception of its recycling program in 2004.
    Below is a breakdown of the recycling totals from 2010:
    · Aluminum: 2,384 pounds
    · Glass: 9,209 pounds
    · Plastics: 9,594 pounds
    · Single stream overages: 37,210 pounds
    · Metal debris: 12,740 pounds
    · Cardboard: 49,880 pounds
    · Tires: 14,000 pounds
    Infineon Raceway also works with Safety-Kleen to recycle used oil products at its NASCAR and NHRA events. Safety-Kleen refines more than 200,000 gallons of used motor oil each year at racing events and a total of 200 million gallons of used motor oil from customers throughout North America.
    Infineon Raceway’s recycling efforts are part of a larger sustainability platform, which was officially launched in November through a partnership with Panasonic Corporation of North America. The partnership includes a solar installation system that will provide for 41-percent of the raceway's overall energy use, as well as a dual-sided, solar-powered LED board that will replace the current board, which sits on Highway 37 outside the raceway. PG&E provided a comprehensive energy audit of the raceway in 2010 and continues to be involved, offering energy-efficient alternatives to the raceway.
    The facility will also feature clean-racing technologies on the racetrack at some of its major events in 2011, including the West Coast Moto Jam, May 11-15. For the second year, the weekend will feature the TTXGP U.S. Championships, which showcases the best in electric motorcycle racing. The raceway also hopes to host a green performance summit for industry leaders at its INDYCAR event in August. For more information about Infineon Raceway’s sustainability efforts, visit infineonraceway.com/sustainability.(1-27-2011)


    News from January 26, 2011

  • NASCAR announces changes for 2011 season: NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has added a wild card element to setting the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field and it has simplified its points system for 2011, making it easier for fans, competitors and the industry to understand.
    While the 12-driver Chase field remains intact, the final two spots will be determined by the number of wins during the first 26 races.
    The top 10 in points following Race No. 26 – the “cutoff” race – continue to earn Chase berths.
    Positions 11 and 12 are “wild card” qualifiers and will go to non-top-10-ranked drivers with the most wins, as long as they’re ranked in the top 20 in points. The top-10 Chase drivers will continue to be seeded based on wins during the first 26 races, with each win worth three bonus points. The wild card drivers will not receive bonus points for wins and will be seeded 11th and 12th, respectively. It’s a move aimed towards rewarding winning and consistency during the regular season.
    Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, made the announcements at the NASCAR Hall of Fame during NASCAR’s annual media event as part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour.
    “The fans tell us that winning matters the most with them, so we’re combining the tradition of consistency in our sport with the excitement that comes along with winning,” said France. “This makes every race count leading into the 26th race of the season at Richmond, when we set the field for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”
    The new points system – which applies to all NASCAR national series – will award points in one-point increments. As an example, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, race winners will earn 43 points, plus three bonus points for the win. Winners also can earn an extra point for leading a lap and leading the most laps, bringing their total to a possible maximum of 48 points.
    All other drivers in a finishing order will be separated by one-point increments. A second-place finisher will earn 42 points, a third-place driver 41 points, and so on. A last-place finisher – 43rd place – earns one point. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the last-place finisher receives eight points, to account for that series’ 36-driver race field.
    “Many of our most loyal fans don’t fully understand the points system we have used to date,” said France, referencing the system that has been in use since 1975. “So, we are simplifying the points system to one that is much easier to understand. Conceptually, it is comparable to our previous system, but it is easier to follow.”
    During his remarks Wednesday night, France reflected on the outstanding competition the sport enjoyed in 2010 and expected to see that high-caliber of racing to continue once the green flag drops for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 Feb. 20.
    “NASCAR enters 2011 with positive momentum and a great sense of excitement and optimism,” said France. “We’re extremely excited for the launch of the season. Leading the season off with Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas, we believe our fans are in store for some of the best racing the sport has to offer.”
    Other competitive enhancements announced Wednesday:
    Pick a Series – Drivers in all three national series now must select the series where they’ll compete for a driver championship. Drivers still may compete in multiple series and help their teams win owner titles in series where they’re not competing for a driver title. The move helps spotlight young talent in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
    New Qualifying Procedure – The qualifying order will be set based upon slowest to fastest practice speeds.
    Inclement Weather Qualifying – If bad weather cancels qualifying, the final starting lineup will be determined by practice speeds. The same rule book procedures will be used to determine eligibility to start a race. If weather cancels practice sessions, then the starting lineup will be set by points, per the rule book.
    Tire Rules Revision – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams now are allowed five sets of tires for practice and qualifying instead of six. They must return four of those sets to Goodyear in order to receive their race allotment, and may keep one set of practice/qualifying tires. Tire allotments for race weekends will vary according to historical performance data.
    Closed Loop Fueling System – Introduced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, this goes into effect for all three national series in 2011. It combines a more efficient fueling system with the elimination of the catch-can man, considered the most “vulnerable” pit-crew member. Teams now will use six, rather than seven, over-the-wall pit-crew members.
    Evolution Of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Car – NASCAR continues to work with the manufacturers and teams to enhance the look of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. The cars have new fronts this season and the body makeover will continue to help appeal to fans and aid manufacturer identity.
    (NASCAR)(1-26-2011)

  • Chase will go to top 10, plus 2 biggest winners: Twelve NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will make the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2011 -- the top 10 in points and the two drivers not in the top 10 who have the most race victories in NASCAR’s 26-race regular season. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is expected to confirm that arrangement, along with a points system that gives 43 points to race winners and then one-point increments down to just one point for the last-place finisher. Each driver who leads a lap will get one bonus point, and regular-season race winners are expected to get two or three Chase bonus points for each victory. There will be no knockout rounds in the Chase, as NASCAR had hinted at earlier.(SPEED)(1-26-2011)

  • Live coverage of Brian France's address Wednesday evening: SPEED will carry NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France's media address and subsequent Q&A live and without commercial interruption Wednesday around 7 p.m. ET as part of NASCAR Race Hub. France's "state of the sport" address from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, expected to include an announcement regarding a revamped points system, is scheduled as part of NASCAR's stop on the annual Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bob Dillner will report live from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In addition to full coverage of France's speech, the Hub on Wednesday also features in-studio analysis with Jeff Hammond and a satellite interview with Darrell Waltrip.(SPEED)
    AND NASCAR.com will stream the "State of the Sport" address live at 6:30pm/ET. (1-26-2011)

  • SPEED to have 100 Hours of Speedweeks Coverage: SPEED will broadcast more than 100 hours of programming from Daytona Speedweeks this year, highlighted by live coverage of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Feb. 17 at 2 pm/et and the Camping World Truck Series season opener Feb. 18 at 7:30 m/et. SPEED will open its Daytona Speedweeks lineup with coverage of NASCAR Media Day on Feb. 10 at 7 pm/et, followed at 8:30 pm/et by the series premiere of The 10, a fast-paced list program highlighting the best of the best from the world of NASCAR, whose premiere counts down "NASCAR's Closest Calls." NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot returns for its sixth season in 2011 starring John Roberts, Kyle Petty, Kenny Wallace, Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini. The cast will deliver a special three-hour edition on Feb. 20 at 9 am/et, leading into NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Daytona 500. (CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-26-2011)

  • SPEED to Honor Earnhardt with special: To recognize the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s death in the 2001 Daytona 500, SPEED announced it would broadcast a one-hour special titled "The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt" on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. EST. The program will reflect on the tragic events of that Sunday from sunrise to sunset and focus on how that moment forever changed NASCAR. The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt, will mark the first time Michael Waltrip, who won the 2001 Daytona 500, will give a television interview to discuss the death of his former car owner, friend and mentor. (CMS Media Tour Notes)(1-26-2011)

  • NASCAR announces deal with K&N Filters: NASCAR announced that it has reached an exclusive agreement with K&N Filters for the company's air and oil filters to be designated the "#1 Filter in NASCAR." This multi-year agreement provides K&N with a marketing platform to enhance and differentiate its products and drive sales. K&N will utilize the NASCAR Performance brand marks and intellectual property on its packaging, as well as within literature, on its advertising and promotional programs, and at industry events. In addition to its exclusive NASCAR Performance partnership, K&N will maintain its status as an official developmental series partner of NASCAR by continuing its run as title sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and also will remain a NASCAR Prize Money & Decal (Contingency) Program sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. (NASCAR)(1-26-2011)

  • Construction Continues for Installation of the World's Largest HD Video Board: Construction crews have nearly completed the first phase of work on the site where the world's largest high-definition video board will rise 110 feet above the track for its debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 May race events. Crews have removed 18,000 cubic yards of dirt and 3,000 cubic yards of concrete behind the backstretch where the gigantic, nearly 16,000-square-foot screen will be located. The next phase of site work will include removing another 900 cubic yards of dirt by drilling 12 holes, each 54 inches in diameter, more than 50 feet deep to bedrock level. Concrete piers will then be installed in the holes to support the massive 500,000-pound steel frame that will hold the 165,000-pound video board. When completed, the total structure will weigh 332-and-a-half tons or 665,000 pounds.(CMS)(1-26-2011)


    News from January 25, 2011

  • ESPN Extends Contract of Rusty Wallace Through 2014: Champion NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, ESPN’s lead studio analyst for auto racing, has reached a new contract extension to remain with ESPN through the 2014 season, it was announced by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. Wallace joined ESPN after retiring from driving following the 2005 NASCAR season. A 55-time winner in NASCAR’s top series and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Wallace is lead analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR studio programs, including NASCAR Countdown and NASCAR Now. Wallace also contributes NASCAR analysis to SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS and calls selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races from the booth. He spent the 2006 season as an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series before moving to NASCAR in 2007 as the stock car racing series returned to ESPN.(ESPN)(1-25-2010)

  • Another sponsor for the #29 car? UPDATE: hearing Jimmy John's will sponsor Kevin Harvick's #29 RCR Chevy for six Sprint Cup series in 2011. Budweiser is scheduled to be the primary sponsor of the car for 20 races in 2011. Jimmy John's has sponsored Kevin Harvick teams in the past running on KHI's Nationwide cars and Camping World trucks.(1-24-2011)
    UPDATE: Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches and Richard Childress Racing have reached a multi-year partnership agreement for the franchised sandwich shop restaurant chain to be the primary sponsor for six races and an associate sponsor for the balance of the season for Richard Childress Racing's #29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Kevin Harvick. The partnership is a continuation of an established relationship between Jimmy John's Franchise, LLC, RCR and Kevin Harvick, Incorporated. Jimmy John's, based in Champaign, Ill., was a primary sponsor of KHI's No. 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series program the past two seasons and was an associate sponsor of RCR's No. 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2010. Founded in 1983, Jimmy John's has grown to more than 1,000 stores in 39 states throughout the U.S.(RCR)(1-25-2011)

  • NASCAR looking to change qualifying rainout procedure: The days of the starting order being set by rank in points when qualifying is rained out might be coming to an end. Multiple sources said after Monday meetings with NASCAR that plans are in place to set the qualifying order based on practice speeds, and the starting order based on practice speeds if qualifying is rained out. The qualifying order currently is set by a draw, with the team whose owner has the most owner points picking first. Under the proposed plan, which is expected to be announced Wednesday by chairman Brian France, the only way the starting order will be based on points is if both practice and qualifying are rained out. The sources said NASCAR remains consistent with its plan to change the points structure to a 43-1 format, giving 43 points for first, 42 for second and one point less for each spot through last.(ESPN.com)(1-25-2011)

  • Michael Waltrip will run Daytona 500: UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Michael Waltrip will compete in the Feb. 20 Daytona 500. "This will be my 25th Daytona 500 in a row," Waltrip said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I think two people have started that many. Richard Petty and Dave Marcis come to mind. Our plan is to race the Budweiser Shootout and 500. I'm looking forward to it." Waltrip won't be here for Cup testing Jan. 20-22 at Daytona International Speedway, but his team will send two stock cars manned by Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-7-2011)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA AUTO PARTS announced that two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will drive the #15 NAPA Toyota in his 25th consecutive Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. "This is a very special day," said Waltrip who unveiled the #15 NAPA paint scheme Tuesday morning during the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour. "Ten years ago I won the 500 in my first race with NAPA and we know February 18, 2001 is a day that NASCAR fans will never forget. What looked to be a storybook ending turned to tragedy seconds later. To mark the 10th anniversary of that race and my 25th consecutive 500 will be quite emotional for me and fans alike." Waltrip broke a 0 for 462 streak when he won the 2001 Daytona 500 driving for car owner Dale Earnhardt who died in a turn four accident on the final lap. Waltrip chronicles the events of that weekend as well as his life and the challenges building a Sprint Cup organization in his book "In the Blink of an Eye" that goes on sale Feb. 1.(MWR)(1-25-2011)

  • Fox Sports chairman would like to see shorter races: Fox Sports chairman David Hill says he thinks NASCAR races are too long and would like to see them cut down to run during a three-hour window. Hill says Monday night that NASCAR recognizes it needs to make changes to stop its current slide in both attendance and television ratings. He says that NASCAR chairman Brian France is "really trying very hard" to find solutions, but nothing will happen overnight. Hill believes there are simply too many entertainment options to hold a fan's interest over the length of an entire race. Fox has three years remaining on its television deal with NASCAR, and Hill says it's too soon to tell if the network will renew.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)
    AND: He's still against streaming races online and says noting is immiment in that area. And, he says that NASCAR needs to emphasize winning more with its points structural.(Hampton Roads)(1-25-2011)

  • Shane Hmiel continues to recover: Shane Hmiel, who was paralyzed in October after being critically injured during qualifying for the U.S. Auto Racing Club's Silver Crown race in Indiana, has regained the use of his limbs and hopes to one day return to a race car. "That's all he wants to think about," said Hmiel's father, Steve, the managing director at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. "In fact, when they put the eight-inch rod in his back the [doctors] made sure the rod was placed where he could sit in a race car comfortably." Shane Hmiel, who was banned for life from NASCAR in 2006 after failing three drug tests, has been undergoing rehabilitation in Shepherd Center in Atlanta since moving out of intensive care in Indianapolis Medical Hospital. His father said doctors are optimistic Shane will be able to walk with the aid of crutches or a walker within a year of the accident. According to his father, Shane Hmiel was given a 1-in-10 chance of surviving immediately after the accident, in which his No. 17 Silver Crown car slammed into the outside wall between the third and fourth turns at Terre Haute Action Track and then rolled several times. Steve said Shane, who has a six-inch plate in his neck and two eight-inch rods in his back, now has functions of all limbs. He is able to work at his computer, text and use a telephone.(ESPN.com)(1-25-2011)

  • Penske makes sponsor announcements: Penske Racing's Kurt Busch will join Coca-Cola's family of NASCAR drivers this season. Coca-Cola will sponsor the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion as Busch pursues his second series title while driving the #22 Shell-Pennzoil machine in 2011. Busch will carry the iconic Coca-Cola name on both his uniform and his Dodge Charger as he looks to extend his Cup Series victory streak to 10 consecutive seasons. As part of the relationship, Busch and Penske Racing will be featured in Coca-Cola's in-store promotions throughout the 2011 season and Busch will also make promotional appearances on behalf of Coke.
    AND: Penske Racing and Kimberly-Clark will begin a new partnership in 2011 as the Penske teams competing in NASCAR will assist in the promotion and marketing of one of the company's top products, Wypall Wipers. Kimberly-Clark will become an associate sponsor of Penske Racing's NASCAR teams beginning this season. All Penske Racing crew chiefs, in both the Cup Series and Nationwide Series, will wear the Wypall Wipers logo on their uniforms in 2011, promoting one of the toughest and most absorbent towels in the marketplace. As part of the relationship, Kimberly-Clark will utilize the Penske Racing crew chiefs to help market Wypall Wipers.
    AND: After helping the #22 Dodge team and driver, Brad Keselowski, capture the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, Ruby Tuesday, Inc. has agreed to extend and expand its partnership with Penske Racing this season. The high-quality, casual-dining restaurant chain's brand will once again adorn the sides of the # 22 Dodge Challenger. In addition to its presence in the Nationwide Series, Ruby Tuesday will have prominent placement on the rear deck lid of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger, also driven by Keselowski, in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2011.(Penske Racing)(1-25-2011)

  • Kurt Busch making NHRA debut at Gainesville: Kurt Busch, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series, has announced that he will be making his NHRA Full Throttle Series debut at the 41st annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, March 11-13, at historic Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. He will be competing for one of the 16 qualifying spots in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class in the Shell Dodge Avenger for Allen Johnson and J & J Racing. Busch spent a good part of his busy offseason testing with Allen Johnson and he earned his NHRA Pro Stock license with an impressive best-pass of 6.576 seconds at 210.43 mph at Bradenton, Fla. When Busch arrives in Gainesville for the 41st running of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, he will get a total of four qualifying passes - two on Friday and two on Saturday - at which point the 16-car fields will be set for Sunday's race.(NHRA)(1-25-2011)

  • LiftMaster becomes official garage door opener at TMS: Texas Motor Speedway announced that LiftMaster, the leading brand of professionally installed garage door opener systems and access solutions, has been named as the "Official Garage Door Opener" of "The Great American Speedway!" As a result of the new partnership, LiftMaster will receive numerous branding opportunities, including the naming rights for the garage area that houses the unrivaled cars, crews and equipment of the Nationwide Series and IZOD IndyCar Series. It is the first time a Texas Motor Speedway garage, now known as the LiftMaster Garage, has been corporately branded to this magnitude.(TMS)(1-25-2011)


    News from January 24, 2011

  • Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Sponsor Announcements: During a lunch presentation on the first day of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, officials from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (EGR) made several new announcements concerning sponsors and the 2011 season. Acting as emcee for the event, television broadcaster Larry McReynolds confirmed that Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray will again drive in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for EGR in 2011. Montoya, driving the #42 Target Chevy, marks his third consecutive season with the team. McMurray will start his second season in the #1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonald's Chevy. EGR welcomed companies WIDIA (pronounced VEE-dee-uh) and LiftMaster, both of whom are new to NASCAR competition. WIDIA, a manufacturer of precision machine tools, will assume sponsorship of McMurray's #1 Chevy when he makes his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in the April 3 race at Martinsville Speedway. Garage door-opener manufacturer LiftMaster has signed a multi-year associate sponsorship agreement with EGR for placement on McMurray's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car.(Charlotte Motor Speedway)(1-24-2011)

  • Another sponsor for the #29 car?: hearing Jimmy John's will sponsor Kevin Harvick's #29 RCR Chevy for six Sprint Cup series in 2011. Budweiser is scheduled to be the primary sponsor of the car for 20 races in 2011. Jimmy John's has sponsored Kevin Harvick teams in the past running on KHI's Nationwide cars and Camping World trucks.(1-24-2011)

  • Richard Petty Motorsports announces sponsor lineup: Richard Petty Motorsports announced the 2011 partner lineup for the #9 and #43 Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. The sponsor line up for 2011 includes several organizations that have partnered with Richard Petty in the past. Stanley, an RPM sponsor since 2005, returns for the 2011 season. The 2011 season will also have a new addition to the RPM partner family as DEWALT returns to the sport. Both brands will serve as primary sponsors of the #9 Ford driven by Marcos Ambrose. Best Buy will return to sponsor the #43 Ford and driver AJ Allmendinger for 24 races. Leading that team will be Mike Shiplett, who has worked with Allmendinger for several years at Richard Petty Motorsports. Valvoline, U.S. Air Force, WIX Filters, Reynolds and Paralyzed Veterans of America will round out the sponsorship package on the famed # 43 car for the 2011 season.(RPM), and see images of the #9 scheme on the #9 Team Schemes page.
    AND Air Force officials announced that it would renew its NASCAR partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports and the #43 car with driver A.J. Allmendinger for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Air Force is both a primary and associate sponsor of the #43 car, driven by A.J. Allmendinger. As a primary sponsor, the car will feature the Air Force paint scheme in two of 36 NASCAR points races this season.(Air Force PR)(1-24-2011)

  • Conway driving for NEMCO at Daytona: Kevin Conway, and ExtenZe Racing announced on Sirius-XM Satellite Radio's 'The Morning Drive' show that they have teamed up with driver/owner Joe Nemechek and Nemco Motorsports to kick-off the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Conway will be behind the wheel of the #97 ExtenZe Racing Toyota at this year's Daytona Speedweeks. He will compete in the Bud Shootout and the Gatorade Duels where he will attempt to make the 43 car-field for the 53rd running of the Daytona 500. "After Daytona we hope to be able to work out some further details to add some additional races with Conway," said Joe Nemechek.(ExtenZe PR)(1-24-2011)

  • Johnson named driver of the year by NMPA: Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been named the 2010 winner of the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award by the National Motorsports Press Association. The announcement was made Sunday during the NMPA's annual convention. Johnson was also the named driver of the year by the organization in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. The Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually by the NMPA since 1969. It is named after the sport's winningest driver, Richard Petty, who retired after the 1992 season with 200 career victories and seven Cup championships. The recipient of the award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership.(Scene Daily)(1-24-2011)

  • Racing Electronics Adds HANS to Product & Service Lineup: Racing Electronics announced the addition of HANS Performance Products to its industry-leading list of products and service. "Becoming a full-line HANS dealer will allow us to truly be a one-stop-shop for the competitor," said Kevin Hughes, Director of Motorsports Services for Racing Electronics. "We pride ourselves in providing industry-leading customer sales and service. We will now be able to provide factory-trained HANS sales and service to all of our customers, regardless of series or style of racing." For more information on Racing Electronics, please call the showroom toll-free at 1-800-272-7111 and visit them on the web at www.racingelectronics.com.(NCMA)(1-24-2011)


    News from January 23, 2011

  • NASCAR wants lane stripes at Daytona: NASCAR will ask Daytona International Speedway to add broken, white lane stripes between Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4 before returning in February. Sprint Cup director John Darby said before NASCAR returns for Speed Weeks, the track will add lane markers in all the 31-degree banked areas. "We've had some conversations with a few drivers and they've told us that would be helpful to them when they are three wide in a draft," Darby said Saturday. "The hash marks will give them some sort of a guide to understand how much room they have above and below them. In talking with the Speedway (Saturday) morning, they said they will probably paint those right before the stock cars start running in February." Darby said the double-yellow lines, which separate the racing surface from the out-of-bounds area for NASCAR races at Daytona, will not be moved from the apron to the track surface.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-23-2011)

  • Minor Roush re-organization: Chip Bolin, who formerly worked as the race engineer for Matt Kenseth's #17 team -- including a stint as the crew chief -- took over the Roush Fenway Racing engineering leadership role from Chris Andrews during Preseason Thunder. Heading into the 2010 season, the engineering department used a two-headed approach, with veteran RFR man Andrews heading the race engineering and race simulation section and Tommy Wheeler overseeing the chassis development and fabrication section. In the offseason Andrews, who has experience as a Cup crew chief, was named crew chief for newcomer Trevor Bayne's RFR Nationwide Series program (NASCAR.com)(1-23-2011)

  • Stewart could be in more trouble in Australia: The repercussions for the Tony Stewart fracas in Australia may still reverberate, and Australian media is now reporting that not only was the incident more serious than first reported, but that the possibility of formal charges being filed is still a very real possibility. After spending nearly a month in Australia vacationing and dirt racing, Stewart got into a confrontation with the co-owner of the Parramatta City Raceway Brett Morris, himself a former racer, on the final night of his trip last Saturday. Witnesses reported that Stewart was upset over the condition of the track and threw a helmet at Morris. Morris retaliated with his fist and the two exchanged several blows before being pulled apart. First reports said Stewart had sustained a cut over his eye but had been questioned and released by police. But as it turns out the injuries to Morris appear more serious and include a broken eye socket which will require Morris to undergo surgery next week. It also turns out that Stewart was placed in a patrol car, in the front seat, and then placed in a holding cell at the police station. He was later released and allowed to travel back to the US. According to one report Stewart was held for a couple of hours in the holding cell ‘to reflect on the benefits of controlling his temper.’(NASCAR Examiner and see the full story at the Sydney Morning Herald )(1-23-2011)

  • Nationwide Series scoring revealed: According to NASCAR officials, the only drivers who will receive points in Nationwide Series races will be those eligible for the series championship. Full-time Sprint Cup drivers running for that title are de facto ineligible. The top Nationwide driver, however, won’t receive first-place points unless he or she wins the race. In other words, if Justin Allgaier runs fourth behind Cup drivers Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick—as was the case in last year’s season-opening Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway—Allgaier will receive fourth-place points and money. NASCAR announced Friday that drivers had to select the one championship they’ll seek before the start of the season, unlike in years past when they were eligible for championships in all series.(Sporting News)(1-23-2011)

  • Pastrana to make NNS debut at Indy: Boost Mobile and Samsung Mobile will sponsor Travis Pastrana when the action sports icon embarks on his NASCAR Nationwide Series career in 2011. Pastrana will drive the #99 Boost Mobile Toyota for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing in seven Nationwide Series races this season, including a mid-summer debut in Indianapolis designed to bridge NASCAR with the ESPN X Games. Pastrana plans to compete in at least 20 races in 2012. See full story on Jayski's Nationwide Series site.(1-23-2011)

  • Keselowski Launches New Website: For Brad Keselowski, the 2011 NASCAR season brings about a fresh start as the new driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge at Penske Racing. Along with a new sponsor and new car number, the Penske Racing driver will also rollout a new website. See it at Bradracing.com.(Penske Racing)(1-23-2011)


    News from January 22, 2011

  • Daytona Testing - Day 3, afternoon: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, January 22nd, the top 4 of 27 who have run laps, all three are drafting speeds:
    #2-Keselowski 198.605
    #22-Busch 198.579
    #11-Hamlin 197.737
    #18-Busch 197.737
    #16-Biffle 185.082, best single car run, 12th fastest overall
    slowest #66-McDowell 178.596
    Josh Wise is in the #88 Chevy as Earnhardt Jr. is back in NC attending the wedding of his sister Kelley, who is marrying L.W. Miller. #66-McDowell is at the track to test, the team skipped the first two days.
    #14-Stewart & #39-Newman left after the morning session on Saturday.
    Many teams are not testing on Saturday, including #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr.(team is), #33-Bowyer, #31-Burton, #00-Reuitmann, #56-Truex Jr.
    See speeds from all the sessions on my Daytona 500 Testing page)(1-22-2011)

  • Daytona Testing - Day 3, afternoon/final: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, January 22nd, Day 3, Session 5, the top eleven are drafting, the rest are single car runs:
    1) #2-Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 45.316 198.605
    2) #22-Kurt Busch, Dodge, 45.322 198.579
    3) #18-Kyle Busch, Toyota, 45.515 197.737
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 45.515 197.737
    5) #20-Joey Logano, Toyota, 45.517 197.728
    6) #83-Brian Vickers, Toyota, 45.533 197.659
    7) #4-Kasey Kahne, Toyota, 45.533 197.659
    8) #43-AJ Allmendinger, Ford, 45.549 197.589
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon, Chevy, 45.550 197.585
    10) #99-Carl Edwards, Ford, 45.592 197.403
    11) #77-Steve Wallace, Toyota, 46.239 194.641
    (single car runs below)
    12) #16-Greg Biffle, Ford, 48.627 185.082
    13) #29-Kevin Harvick, Chevy, 48.791 184.460
    14) #09-Bill Elliott, Chevy, 48.889 184.090
    15) #5-Mark Martin, Chevy, 48.927 183.948
    16) #88-Josh Wise, Chevy, 48.943 183.887
    17) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, 49.009 183.640
    18) #21-Trevor Bayne, Ford, 49.020 183.599
    19) #1-Jamie McMurray, Chevy, 49.022 183.591
    20) #27-Paul Menard, Chevy, 49.038 183.531
    21) #60-Landon Cassill, Toyota, 49.123 183.214
    22) #9-Marcos Ambros, Ford, 49.135 183.169
    23) #6-David Ragan, Ford, 49.157 183.087
    24) #13-Casey Mears, Toyota, 49.215 182.871
    25) #36-Dave Blaney, Chevy, 49.272 182.660
    26) #17-Matt Kenseth, Ford, 49.379 182.264
    27) #66-Michael McDowell, Toyota, 50.310 178.891
    Josh Wise is in the #88 Chevy as Earnhardt Jr. is back in NC attending the wedding of his sister Kelley, who is marrying L.W. Miller. #66-McDowell is at the track to test, the team skipped the first two days.
    #14-Stewart & #39-Newman left after the morning session on Saturday.
    Many teams are not testing on Saturday, including #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr.(team is), #33-Bowyer, #31-Burton, #00-Reuitmann, #56-Truex Jr.(NASCAR)(1-22-2011)

  • Daytona Testing - Day 3, morning: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, January 22nd, Day 3, Session 4, the top six are drafting, the rest are single car runs:
    1) #20-Joey Logano, Toyota, 45.566 197.516
    2) #11-Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 45.567 197.511
    3) #14-Tony Stewart, Chevy, 45.582 197.446
    4) # 39-Ryan Newman, Chevy, 45.583 197.442
    5) #43-AJ Allmendinger, Ford, 45.828 196.386
    6) #77-Steve Wallace, Toyota, 46.089 195.274
    (single car runs below)
    7) #1-Jamie McMurray, Chevy, 48.688 184.850
    8) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, 48.694 184.828
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon, Chevy, 48.802 184.419
    10) #5-Mark Martin, Chevy, 48.876 184.139
    11) #27-Paul Menard, Chevy, 49.019 183.602
    12) #16-Greg Biffle, Ford, 49.054 183.471
    13) #2-Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 49.162 183.068
    14) #22-Kurt Busch, Dodge, 49.196 182.942
    15) #29-Kevin Harvick, Chevy, 49.240 182.778
    16) #09-Bill Elliott, Chevy, 49.267 182.678
    17) #21-Trevor Bayne, Ford, 49.301 182.552
    18) #9-Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 49.308 182.526
    19) #18-Kyle Busch, Toyota, 49.314 182.504
    20) #88-Josh Wise, Chevy, 49.342 182.400
    21) #99-Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.382 182.253
    22) #83-Brian Vickers, Toyota, 49.396 182.201
    23) #6-David Ragan, Ford, 49.437 182.050
    24) #36-Dave Blaney, Chevy, 49.474 181.914
    25) #17-Matt Kenseth, Ford, 49.483 181.881
    26) #4-Kasey Kahne, Toyota, 49.506 181.796
    27) #60-Landon Cassill/Todd Bodine, Toyota, 49.515 181.763
    28) #13-Casey Mears, Toyota, 49.801 180.719
    29) #66-Michael McDowell, Toyota, 50.958 176.616
    Josh Wise is in the #88 Chevy as Earnhardt Jr. is back in NC attending the wedding of his sister Kelley, who is marrying L.W. Miller. #66-McDowell is at the track to test, the team skipped the first two days.
    Many teams are not testing on Saturday, including #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr.(team is), #33-Bowyer, #31-Burton, #00-Reuitmann, #56-Truex Jr.
    It was mentioned Friday that #1-McMurray and #42-Montoya would skip Saturday, but they are at the track Saturday.(SPEED's online coverage & NASCAR)(1-22-2011)

  • Desite high speeds, no change in restrictor plate anticipated: Drivers cracked 198 mph in two-car drafts Saturday in the final day of a three-day test session at Daytona International Speedway, but NASCAR doesn't plan to change the size of the restrictor plate when Sprint Cup Series teams return in February for Speedweeks. NASCAR officials seemed content with the speeds, similar to those posted a month ago during a Goodyear tire test on the newly paved 2.5-mile trioval. Teams used a restrictor plate with holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter – 1/32nd of an inch smaller than what was used in the December test. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said he expects speeds in February to be higher than during the test.(SceneDaily)(1-22-2011)

  • Change in Sprint Cup qualifying? NASCAR is considering a new system that would change the order of qualifying. Instead of drawing for qualifying order as teams have done in previous seasons, the qualifying order would at least in part be determined by speed in the practice prior to qualifying. Teams in the Camping World Truck Series already use the system [a few times in 2010]. "It is a possibility. … We're throwing a bunch of ideas around in the meetings with the teams," NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said Friday. "We want to finish all the meetings, get everybody's input and then finalize some stuff." The idea is to have the faster drivers, the ones who will challenge for the pole, qualify near the end of the session and add drama to the qualifying show. It is possible that the drivers not locked in the field because their teams are outside the top 35 in owner points will still be grouped together at the end of the session.(SceneDaily)(1-22-2011)

  • more 2011 images added: #78 Furniture Row, #99 Scott's Special, #27 Menards/Peak, #18 Interstate Batteries, #39 US Army and #77 5-Hour Energy to the Paint Scheme Gallery

  • Bass Pro Shops Founder Morris to be Inducted into Ozark Area Racer's Reunion Hall of Fame: Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris will be inducted into the Ozark Area Racer's Reunion "Hall of Fame" Saturday, January 22nd during a special ceremony beginning at 7pm. The 24th annual event will be at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E-Plex in Springfield, Missouri-a site famous for its great speedways and number of racing legends and pioneers that got their start in the Midwest. Special guests scheduled to attend the ceremony include RCR's Austin Dillon, driver of the Bass Pro Shops #3 Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and racing legends, original "Alabama Gang" members Red Farmer and Bobby Allison.
    Beginning with the first Bass Pro Shops sponsorship with Richard Childress of the #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Monte Carlo driven by Dale Earnhardt in 1998, and continuing to the stellar 2010 season that saw Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray take the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400, for well over a decade Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops have been involved with NASCAR. They have partnered with some of the biggest names in racing--Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress, Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray, Juan Montoya , Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon and Steve Kinser-all in an effort to help promote the great outdoors.
    Morris will be inducted as a "Pioneer" along with Steve Long (Lebanon, Missouri) an expert machinist who is now located in the heart of racing working for TRD (Toyota Racing Development); Gerald Wilson (Bolivar, Missouri) who built cars for Larry Phillips, who became the only 5 time NASCAR short track Champion in history; and Mark Perry (Springfield, Missouri) who, as a kid watched his dad compete on the dusty tracks across the country on the IMCA circuit, then ran a family track for his parents later in life.
    "Legend" inductees include drivers Steve Schahuber (Willard, Missouri), Rex McCroskey (Springfield, Missouri) Dave Williams (Pleasant Hope, Missouri) and Bill Frye (Greenbriar, Arkansas).(RCR)(1-22-2011)

  • Phoenix moves Sprint Cup qualifying to Saturday: Four days of NASCAR action will return to Phoenix International Raceway next month, Feb. 24-27, headlined by the Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup Series race on Feb. 27. The event schedule, which occurs one week after the Daytona 500, showcases a different NASCAR series race each day: Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and the K&N Pro Series West. PIR also announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying will move from its previous spot on Friday to 1:40 pm on Saturday, Feb. 26 – prior to the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Nationwide Race at 3:30 pm. The move will allow more fans to enjoy Sprint Cup time trials. The Subway Fresh Fit 500 is scheduled to start at 1:00 pm/local time [3pm/et] on Sunday, Feb. 27. Spectator gates open at 8:00 am for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500. More info and tickets to the Feb. 24-27 Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR event weekend are available with prices starting at just $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.phoenixraceway.com/tickets or call 866-408-RACE (7223).(PIR)(1-22-2011)

  • MIS security team recognized by NASCAR: Michigan International Speedway takes great pride in keeping its fans, visitors and NASCAR drivers and personnel safe each and every time they visit the Irish Hills for race weekends. Those efforts were recognized during NASCAR's annual safety meetings in Charlotte, N.C. last week when MIS and its Security Director Jim Hobbs were honored with an Award of Excellence for garage/pit security. Hobbs' award was one of three given out by NASCAR for having one of the industry's top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend security teams. It is the second time MIS and Hobbs have been honored with the sanctioning bodies' excellence award, with the first coming in 2007. Hobbs is a retired deputy sheriff with more than 30 years experience in law enforcement. He has been at MIS since 1997. he deadline to place a deposit is approaching on Jan. 31. The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2011 go to customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. 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)(1-22-2011)

  • $20.11 Holds Any Ticket Order in 2011 at Charlotte: To ring in the new year, Charlotte Motor Speedway is offering fans the chance to reserve any seat at "The Greatest Place to See the Race" for just $20.11 by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). After reserving tickets for just a $20.11 down payment, fans can develop a customized, interest-free payment plan and reserve their favorite seats to one of the speedway's premier NASCAR, NHRA and World of Outlaws Series events. In addition to individual event tickets and season ticket packages, other special ticket promotions are available. For more information on ticket promotions and ticket pricing visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. To reserve seats for any of these events for only $20.11, fans must call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) and speak directly to a Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket agent to develop a customized, interest-free payment plan (CMS)(1-22-2011)


    News from January 21, 2011

  • Daytona Testing - Day 2, afternoon: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 21st is over. Morning session was canceled due to rain/drizzle/fog. There will be no testing tonight. Testing was extended to 6pm/et
    #11-Hamlin. 196.868
    #14-Stewart 196.855
    #20-Logano 196.691
    fastest none drafting speeds
    #33-Bowyer 185.250
    #1-McMurray 183.876
    slowest #13-Mears 179.137
    34 cars rans laps
    Many teams will not test on Saturday, including #1-McMurray, #42-Montoya, #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #33-Bowyer, #00-Reuitmann, #56-Truex Jr.
    See speeds on my Daytona Test Speeds Page.(1-21-2011)

  • Daytona Testing - Day 2, afternoon: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 21st, Day 2, Session 3, the final speeds of the session. The morning session was canceled due to rain/drizzle/fog:
    1) #11-Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 45.716 196.868
    2) #14-Tony Stewart, Chevy, 45.719 196.855
    3) #20-Joey Logano, Toyota, 45.757 196.691
    4) #2-Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 45.873 196.194
    5) #31-Jeff Burton, Chevy, 45.954 195.848
    6) #83-Brian Vickers, Toyota, 45.955 195.844
    7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, 46.037 195.495
    8) #48-Jimmie Johnson, Chevy, 46.037 195.495
    9) #18-Kyle Busch, Toyota, 46.054 195.423
    10) #4-Kasey Kahne, Toyota, 46.170 194.932
    11) #77-Steve Wallace, Toyota, 46.468 193.682
    12) #33-Clint Bowyer, Chevy, 48.583 185.250
    13) #1-Jamie McMurray, Chevy, 48.946 183.876
    14) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, 48.953 183.850
    15) #24-Jeff Gordon, Chevy, 49.125 183.206
    16) #5-Mark Martin, Chevy, 49.230 182.815
    17) #39-Ryan Newman, Chevy, 49.377 182.271
    18) #27-Paul Menard, Chevy, 49.392 182.216
    19) #16-Greg Biffle, Ford, 49.409 182.153
    20) #99-Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.520 181.745
    21) #21-Trevor Bayne, Ford, 49.573 181.550
    22) #9-Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 49.575 181.543
    23) #22-Kurt Busch, Dodge, 49.590 181.488
    24) #29-Kevin Harvick, Chevy, 49.597 181.463
    25) #43-AJ Allmendinger, Ford, 49.661 181.229
    26) #09-Bill Elliott, Chevy, 49.698 181.094
    27) #00-David Reutimann, Toyota, 49.743 180.930
    28) #6-David Ragan, Ford, 49.768 180.839
    29) #60-Landon Cassill, Toyota, 49.790 180.759
    30) #17-Matt Kenseth, Ford, 49.854 180.527
    31) #56-Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 49.894 180.382
    32) #78-Regan Smith, Chevy, 49.900 180.361
    33) #36-Dave Blaney, Chevy, 49.925 180.270
    34) #13-Casey Mears, Toyota, 50.241 179.137
    (NASCAR)(1-21-2011)

  • Some highlights from Friday's NASCAR Press Conference: NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton held a press conference at Daytona International Speedway on Friday. Some notes and highlights:
    NASCAR president Mike Helton confirmed Friday that drivers will be allowed to race for only one championship this season. The rule is designed to prevent Sprint Cup drivers from dominating the second-tier Nationwide Series. Full-time Cup drivers have won the last five Nationwide titles. Helton also said NASCAR is leaning toward a simpler points system for all three of its national series. Helton says bonus points would be added to put an emphasis on winning races (ESPN).
    Helton also indicated that a new points system is coming to the top three series. It likely will be one in which points are awarded one per position from with the winner getting 43 points and the last place driver just one. There likely will be bonus points offered to encourage drivers to race for wins and to keep championships from being decided by consistency alone. And there are expected to be provisions that allow drivers who don’t finish the regular season in the elite group but have won races to have a shot at being added to the Chase field. He said the goal is to make the points system easier to understand for casual fans as well as those more familiar with the sport.
    The rookie of the year program also is expected to undergo some changes. With no rookie drivers signed up to run full-time in Cup this year, adjustments likely will be made to deal with a rookie like Trevor Bayne, who is signed to drive the Wood Brothers’ #21 Ford but only has 17 races scheduled this year.
    Helton said starting times for Cup races, which were standardized last year, could see some changes. He said the times might need to be adjusted given the length of the NASCAR season. Last year, races started just after 1 pm, 3 pm. or 7:30 pm depending on the location of the track.
    NASCAR appears to be on pace to switch from carburetors to fuel injection, but fuel injection won’t be used in points-paying Cup races this year. Cars will run on an ethanol blend fuel and a new fueling system that doesn’t require a traditional vent will be used.(RacinToday)
    Helton also said the sanctioning body has not made a decision concerning possible changes to the championship point systems for the 2011 Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. He admitted, however, that the move is receiving serious consideration in an attempt to make those championships simpler for fans to understand. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is expected to announce the sanctioning body’s final decision next Wednesday (Sirius Speedway)(1-21-2011)

  • Kvapil and Gilliland Return to Front Row: Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland will be back behind the wheels of their Front Row Motorsports Fords for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Statesville, N.C.-based team announced Friday that the veteran drivers will return for the organization's third full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series, with Kvapil racing the #34 Long John Silver's Ford and David Gilliland in the #38 Taco Bell Ford. The team plans to enter its third car, the #37 Ford, in select races during the 2011 season.
    "I'm thrilled to have Travis and David back," said Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports. "We're going into our third season running full-time in Sprint Cup racing and we're really starting to build something here with these guys. Our drivers are back, (Taco Bell team crew chief) Peter Sospenzo is back, (general manager) Jerry Freeze is into his third season running the team for us. So, I'm really excited to keep building with this core group."
    Front Row also made two important additions to further the team's growth and competitiveness on track. The team appointed Derrick Finley to the newly created position of competition director and named Bill Henderson crew chief of the #34 team. Finley is a degreed engineer who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Front Row. He has held leadership roles with some of the most storied teams in the sport's history, including Dale Earnhardt Inc., Bill Davis Racing and Petty Enterprises.
    New crew chief Henderson brings the #34 Long John Silver's team more than 12 years of experience in the NASCAR garage, most recently as general manager for Prism Motorsports [now HP Racing] and crew chief for the team's #66 entry. His racing resume also includes crew chief roles in the Nationwide Series with FitzBradshaw Racing and in the Sprint Cup Series with drivers Kyle Petty and Dave Blaney.
    Sospenzo will be back atop the pit box of the #38 Taco Bell team, kicking off his third season with the Front Row organization. He was paired with Gilliland for the final 12 races of the 2010 season.
    In addition to solidifying its team roster, Front Row Motorsports made some off-season advances in its equipment, setting the stage for improved performance in 2011. The team will begin using Ford's new FR9 engines, provided by Roush-Yates Racing Engines, and has upgraded its racing stable with the recent asset purchase of 34 racecars from Richard Petty Motorsports.(Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits)(1-21-2011)

  • Richardson to run for Front Row in Daytona 500: Robert Richardson Jr. plans to run the Daytona 500 for Front Row Motorsports [likely the #37 team], just as he did last year for the team, when he finished 31st. Richardson also ran the other three restrictor plate races for FRM last year, with a best finish 23rd at Daytona in July. The Daytona 500 is the only Sprint Cup race he plans to run in 2011, with backing likely coming from longtime R3 sponsor Mahindra Tractors. His family owned team, #23 R3 Motorsports, which made a few 2010 attmepts currently has no plans to run in the Sprint Cup Series this year. R3 Motorsports does intend on running at least a full Nationwide Series schedule this year, but, Richardson says, no firm plans on a driver and sponsor lineup are in place. "Nothing has been finalized. We are still in search of partnerships with companies who are wanting to advertise in NASCAR," Richardson told WSB via email. "Walter Giles is listed as our crew chief. We have the capability to run two teams out of our stable. We have currently completed an adition to our shop to house a second team if necessary."(WSBRadio.com)(1-21-2011)

  • Steve Wallace, no plans to run other races..yet: #77-Steve Wallace was interviewed during the Daytona testing rain dealy and said he doesn't plan to run the first five races of the season in Sprint Cup even though his team has owners points from the #77 Penske Racing team in 2011. Wallace will run the Daytona 500 in the #77 5-Hour Energy Drink Toyota and is testing there this week. Wallace did say they may consider running at Talladega or the July race at Daytona if they do well and the funding is there.(SPEED's streaming video)(1-21-2011)

  • Latest news on Shane Hmiel: Former NASCAR driver Shane Hmiel is expected to be released from an Atlanta rehabilitation center in the next two weeks to continue his recovery from serious race-accident injuries at home. Steve Hmiel, Shane’s father and the competition director at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, said Shane has shown significant improvement from the head injury he suffered in a brutal crash during a USAC Silver Crown race last October in Indiana. Hmiel suffered head and spinal cord injuries in the wreck. Swelling in his brain was brought under control, his father said, and the family hopes that his rehabilitation can continue to progress when he returns home. “The doctors say most rehabilitation gets better when you get back at home, and we’re counting on that,” Hmiel said Thursday. “He’s going to have to learn how to walk again, first with a cane and then hopefully without it.” Shane Hmiel was trying to build a new career in USAC after being banned for life from NASCAR because of repeatedly failing drug tests.(SPEED)(1-21-2011)

  • more 2011 images added: #78 Furniture Row, #99 Scott's Special, #27 Menards/Peak, #18 Interstate Batteries, #39 US Army and #77 5-Hour Energy to the Paint Scheme Gallery

  • Goodyear tires at Daytona: The Goodyear tires are a combination of what NASCAR will use at Las Vegas and Talladega. They don't wear as fast, as usually is the case on new surfaces, meaning we'll see a lot more no-tire and two-tire stops in the Daytona 500 than normal. (ESPN.com)(1-21-2011)

  • Junior Johnson to be honored at NCMA Awards: The North Carolina Motorsports Association ("NCMA") is gearing up for the 5th Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Senn Dunn Insurance. On Friday, January 21st, industry business leaders will gather to honor racing legend Junior Johnson and award seven companies for their 2010 accomplishments. In addition, a first ever Media Recognition Award will go to Chris Economaki recognized as "The Dean of American Motorsports". The event is in its 5th year and will once again be held at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC, beginning with a cocktail reception hosted by Dixon Hughes PLLC. An unscripted fire side chat will be moderated by Tom Higgins as Jimmy Spencer, Ned Jarrett, Steve Waid and Humpy Wheeler take the stage to discuss this year's Achievement in Motorsports Tribute recipient, Junior Johnson.
    Senn Dunn Insurance has announced that they will return as the presenting sponsor for the second consecutive year. Senn Dunn Insurance, through its Motorsports Practice Group, has established long-term clients and a well respected name within the racing industry handling risk management, employee benefits and other insurance needs. Their motto is, "We'll handle it" and that is exactly what they will be doing the night of the event when they help present the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute award. More awards info at the NCMA site.(1-21-2011)

  • Stewart talks about incident in Australia: #14-Tony Stewart, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway during Preseason Thunder at Daytona and discussed a recent reported altercation at a dirt track in Australia. The transcript in part:
    Q.) Australian newspapers reported that at the end of your trip down there that there was sort some of altercation or something. Can you give us some facts or shed some light on what happened?
    A - Stewart) There was an altercation at the racetrack. It was a dispute between myself and one of the owners of the facility. But as it also reported, we went down to the police station, we gave them a statement. They told us after the statement that we were free to go back to the hotel room and free to get on the plane the next day. But definitely wasn't the way I wanted to end my trip. We had a fun trip over there. Obviously there was a lot of flooding and raining while we were there, but at the same time we still...we had a good race trip over there and didn't end that last night the way we wanted to by any means. But it's not uncommon to see drivers and track owners have disputes over what's going on, but this one went a little bit further than a normal dispute.
    Q.) Can you tell us what you told the police in Australia?
    A - Stewart) I can't tell you that, but that's why they take you there is to talk to you behind closed doors. But the police department was very cordial over there. They were very professional, and we did exactly what they asked us to do and went through that process, and they let us go.
    Q.) Given how much fun you've had in Australia in the past, do you think you'll go back?
    A - Stewart) Love to. Like I said, except for the last night we had an excellent trip again. I mean, that's the most time that I've ever been able to spend at one time, and even though the weather wasn't very nice it was still a good vacation. I woke up every day not to a ringing telephone, so it was nice to get away on a good vacation, and I still want to go back and still want to go back and race. I'm glad this will be over with soon hopefully.
    Q.) Do you anticipate that the matter is settled, or is there any concern you might have to go back to answer any further questions?
    A - Stewart) I'm not concerned about it. If there is and we have to go back, we'll deal with it. But it's nothing that we're concerned with at this point. I mean, like I said, when they were done with us, they said we were able to go back to the hotel and were able get on our flight and come back. I made sure that they knew exactly where we were staying, when our flight was, what the flight number was and how to get a hold of us the whole time. We'll deal with it if anything else comes about.
    Q.) You seem remarkably calm and at peace, and you look good and fit, and yet you had an altercation. What could have possibly led to such a dispute, and talk about your mood and how you're feeling?
    A - Stewart)Well, I'm definitely not proud of what happened, and if I had to do it all over again, I would have dealt with it much different. But we had been over there for almost five weeks, and we had been dealing with the same problem with the racetrack, so it wasn't something that was just one incident that led up to it. It was a combination of the whole trip. But there was such a dispute on how they were doing a couple different aspects of preparing the racetrack and what it was putting the drivers in the situations that we were put in. You know, I've always been one to speak up for what I think is right, especially when it comes to the safety side of it, and I didn't think it was the conditions were safe to run on, and they felt differently.
    I'm home, and I'm back doing things that are getting my mind off of it, obviously. Like I said, this isn't something that I've blown off. I mean, I've lost a lot of sleep over it because I'm very embarrassed that I made it through a whole trip and the night before I come home I get in an altercation with somebody, and that really hasn't happened for a while. I'm not at all the least bit proud of it. I'm ashamed about it, but at the same time it's been nice to get back with the team and it's nice to come down here and worry about driving the race car again. And it's not that it's making me forget about it, but it's at least getting my mind off of it enough to relax. And I had a good vacation. That's the thing. It's a very relaxing vacation. I felt like I alleviated a lot of stress over there, and like I said, we just had one bad night out of a 30 day trip. I think for the most part the trip was a success.(Team Chevy PR)(1-21-2011)

  • NASCAR Press Conference Scheduled Friday: NASCAR president Mike Helton will answer questions Friday about the new racing season and the nature of some of the changes the sanctioning body is considering. Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton are scheduled to attend a noon press conference at Daytona International Speedway as part of NASCAR's three-day preseason testing. No dramatic revelations are expected, but Helton probably will expand on changes officials are considering and some that are definitely in place. For the first time, drivers in NASCAR's three major series have been required to choose the series in which they will pursue the championship, meaning full-time Sprint Cup drivers won't be in the running for the Nationwide Series title. Another change involves pit road, where there will be six over-the-wall crewmen instead of seven. The catch-can position has been eliminated with the arrival of new self-venting fuel cans. Helton is expected to address those topics Friday in addition to questions about possible changes in the Sprint Cup point system and possible modifications to the Chase for the Sprint Cup format, although key information about Chase changes is not expected to be released until next week.(SPEED)(1-21-2011)


    News from January 20, 2011

  • Next up - Daytona testing Jan. 20-22 & NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest: Daytona 500 champions Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are among the drivers that will appear at NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at historic Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Jan. 20 and Friday, Jan. 21. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take to the new asphalt at Daytona International Speedway in a three-day test session, known as NASCAR Preseason Thunder, Thursday, Jan. 20 through Saturday, Jan. 22.
    Tickets for NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com. 2011 Daytona 500 ticketholders and children 12 and under will receive free admission. Advanced reservations are available (limited to 250 people) for special autograph sessions to be held with participating 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and Daytona 500 champions. Additional driver autograph sessions will be held on both days with wristbands available the day of the event.
    To request access to the special autograph sessions, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit the Daytona International Speedway ticket office beginning on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.
    In addition to viewing the on-track activity from the Sprint FANZONE, fans can watch each day's testing at no cost from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands near Turn 4.
    Drivers currently scheduled to make appearances on Thursday, Jan. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr. and Regan Smith.
    Scheduled to appear on Friday, Jan. 21, during the 5-7 p.m. session are Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, Casey Mears, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kevin Conway, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman. In the 7-9 p.m. session, drivers scheduled to appear are AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth.
    Lastly, race fans will be able to camp in the infield of Daytona International Speedway for free with their admission ticket during the three-day test inside Turns 3 and 4. Sites will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Gates to the infield will open Thursday, Jan. 20 at 8:00 a.m.
    Among the activities planned for both days include:
    • Interactive driver question and answer sessions on the main stage
    • Show cars, displays, music
    • Photo opportunity with the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy
    • Blood drive outside the Turn 4 tunnel
    Tickets for both the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests and the Roar Before The Rolex 24 are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)
    TV / Internet Coverage: SPEED and SPEED.com are presenting 23 hours of live testing coverage from Daytona Jan. 20-22 as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series engines roar back to life in the month of January for the first time in three years. John Roberts and Jeff Hammond host SPEED's on-air coverage from the studio above Victory Lane at Daytona. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip will offer analysis throughout the practice sessions with reporting by Bob Dillner and Krista Voda. SPEED.com is presenting live streaming of all on-track activity with the exception of 3:00-5:00 pm/et Thursday, and will feature a rotation of on-air personalities. SPEED schedule for Daytona testing (all times Eastern and live unless otherwise indicated):
    Thursday, Jan. 20
    9 am - 12 pm (SPEED.com)
    1 pm - 3 pm (SPEED.com)
    5 pm - 7 pm (same-day delay) (SPEED)
    Friday, Jan. 21
    9 am - 12 pm (SPEED.com)
    1 pm - 2 pm (SPEED)
    2 pm - 5 pm (SPEED.com)
    Saturday, Jan. 22
    9 am - 12 pm (SPEED.com)
    1 pm - 2 pm – (SPEED)
    2 pm - 5 pm – (SPEED.com)
    (SPEED)
    AND the Richmond International Raceway site, rir.com/daytona as is Michigan International Speedway's site at MISpeedway.com/preseasonthunder, will carry online video coverage, courtesy of a live SPEED-TV feed.(1-20-2011)

  • Daytona Testing - Day 1, afternoon: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, January 20th, Day 1, Session 2, the final speeds of the session, the top four speeds were drafting, the rest were single car runs:
    1) #00-David Reutimann, Toyota, 45.970 195.780
    2) #56-Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 45.971 195.776
    3) #83-Brian Vickers, Toyota, 46.312 194.334
    4) #4-Kasey Kahne, Toyota, 46.312 194.334
    5) #14-Tony Stewart, Chevy, 48.165 186.858
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon, Chevy, 48.744 184.638
    7) #33-Clint Bowyer, Chevy, 48.923 183.963
    8) #1-Jamie McMurray, Chevy, 48.937 183.910
    9) #18-Kyle Busch, Toyota, 49.031 183.557
    10) #99-Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.043 183.512
    11) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, 49.053 183.475
    12) #20-Joey Logano, Toyota, 49.087 183.348
    13) #11-Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 49.132 183.180
    14) #5-Mark Martin, Chevy, 49.140 183.150
    15) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, 49.177 183.012
    16) #2-Brad Keselowski,Dodge,49.264 182.689
    17) #78-Regan Smith, Chevy, 49.268 182.674
    18) #29-Kevin Harvick, Chevy, 49.298 182.563
    19) #9-Marcos Ambros, Ford, 49.305 182.537
    20) #22-Kurt Busch,Dodge, 49.306 182.534
    21) #31-Jeff Burton, Chevy, 49.340 182.408
    22) #27-Paul Menard, Chevy, 49.352 182.363
    23) #16-Greg Biffle, Ford, 49.370 182.297
    24) #39-Ryan Newman, Chevy, 49.410 182.149
    25) #21-Trevor Bayne, Ford, 49.424 182.098
    26) #60-Todd Bodine, Toyota, 49.519 181.748
    27) #6-David Ragan, Ford, 49.590 181.488
    28) #09-Bill Elliott, Chevy, 49.620 181.378
    29) #43-AJ Allmendinger, Ford, 49.687 181.134
    30) #48-Jimmie Johnson, Chevy, 49.706 181.065
    31) #36-Dave Blaney, Chevy, 49.739 180.945
    32) #17-Matt Kenseth, Ford, 49.752 180.897
    33) #13-Casey Mears, Toyota, 49.874 180.455
    34) #77-Steve Wallace, Toyota, 50.036 179.870
    (NASCAR)(1-20-2011)

  • Daytona Testing - Day 1, morning: testing at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, January 20th, Day 1, Session 1, the final speeds of the session, looked like all single car runs:
    1) #33 Clint Bowyer, Chevy, 48.855, 184.219
    2) #24 Jeff Gordon, Chevy, 48.945, 183.880
    3) #5-Mark Martin, Chevy, 49.079, 183.378
    4) #1-Jamie McMurray, Chevy, 49.146, 183.128
    5) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevy, 49.181, 182.997
    6) #2-Brad Keselowski Dodge 49.204, 182.912
    7) #99-Carl Edwards, Ford, 49.263, 182.693
    8) #20-Joey Logano , Toyota, 49.279, 182.634
    9) #31-Jeff Burton, Chevy, 49.287, 182.604
    10) #27-Paul Menard, Chevy, 49.294, 182.578
    11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, 49.330, 182.445
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin , Toyota, 49.341, 182.404
    13) #18-Kyle Busch , Toyota, 49.376, 182.275
    14) #22-Kurt Busch Dodge 49.387, 182.234
    15) #16-Greg Biffle, Ford, 49.390, 182.223
    16) #39-Ryan Newman, Chevy, 49.409, 182.153
    17) #09-Bill Elliott, Chevy, 49.409, 182.153
    18) #29-Kevin Harvick, Chevy, 49.410, 182.149
    19) #21-Trevor Bayne, Ford, 49.484, 181.877
    20) #6-David Ragan, Ford, 49.528, 181.715
    21) #14-Tony Stewart, Chevy, 49.573, 181.550
    22) #78-Regan Smith, Chevy, 49.628, 181.349
    23) #83-Brian Vickers , Toyota, 49.668, 181.203
    24) #60-Todd Bodine , Toyota, 49.688, 181.130
    25) #9-Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 49.744, 180.926
    26) #48-Jimmie Johnson, Chevy, 49.750, 180.905
    27) #00-David Reutimann , Toyota, 49.762, 180.861
    28) #4-Kasey Kahne , Toyota, 49.781, 180.792
    29) #43-AJ Allmendinger, Ford, 49.845, 180.560
    30) #17-Matt Kenseth, Ford, 49.850, 180.542
    31) #13-Casey Mears , Toyota, 49.933, 180.242
    32) #56-Martin Truex Jr. , Toyota, 49.971 180.104
    33) #77-Steve Wallace, Toyota, 50.418, 178.508
    (NASCAR)(1-20-2011)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Roster For Daytona International Speedway Test:
    Car#, Driver, Team
    #00-David Reutimann, MWR
    #1-Jamie McMurray, EGR
    #2-Brad Keselowski, Penske
    #4-Kasey Kahne, Red Bull
    #5-Mark Martin, Hendrick
    #6-David Ragan, Roush Fenway
    #9-Marcos Ambrose, RPM
    #11-Denny Hamlin, JGR
    #13-Casey Mears, Germain
    #14-Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas
    #16-Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway
    #17-Matt Kenseth, Roush Fenway
    #18-Kyle Busch, JGR
    #20-Joey Logano, JGR
    #21-Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers
    #22-Kurt Busch, Penske
    #24-Jeff Gordon, Hendrick
    #27-Paul Menard, RCR
    #29-Kevin Harvick, RCR
    #31-Jeff Burton, RCR
    #33-Clint Bowyer, RCR
    #36-Dave Blaney, Tommy Baldwin Racing
    #39-Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas
    #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, EGR
    #43-AJ Allmendinger, RPM
    #46-J.J. Yeley, Whitney Racing
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick
    #56-Martin Truex Jr., MWR
    #60-Todd Bodine, Germain
    #64-Larry Gunselman, Max Q Motorsports
    #66-Michael McDowell, HP Racing
    #77-Steve Wallace, RWR
    #78-Regan Smith, Furniture Row
    #83-Brian Vickers, Red Bull
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick
    #99-Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway
    Others not listed but are testing:
    #09-Bill Elliott
    Teams/Drivers not listed planning on attempting the Daytona 500 include: #7-Robby Gordon, #47-Bobby Labonte, Front Row Motorsports & Michael Waltip.(List from NASCAR)(1-20-2010)

  • Sprint Cup Race Start Times Still In Limbo: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that standardized start times for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races could become a thing of the past this season. A year ago, all Sunday afternoon Sprint Cup events took the green flag just after 1:00 pm/et. Not all tracks were happy with the change, however, and the move was blamed by some for a drop in television ratings. Sources tell Sirius Speedway that starting times for the 2011 season have yet to be finalized, as NASCAR decides whether to put the decision back into the hands of individual tracks. It is expected that next month’s season-opening Daytona 500 will once again take the green flag just after 1:00pm/et.(Sirius Speedway)(1-20-2011)

  • Bayne to Drive #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford in 2011: Wood Brothers Racing has announced that 19-year old rookie driver Trevor Bayne will pilot the iconic #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion during the 2011 season. Throughout their 61 years of racing in NASCAR the Wood Brothers historically have entrusted their cars to veteran drivers, but they acknowledge that Bayne is not just any rookie. Bayne made his Sprint Cup debut in the #21 last season at Texas; qualifying in on speed and finishing 17th in the race. With the strong Texas performance behind them, the Woods and Bayne plan to run the first five races on the Sprint Cup schedule, then make selected appearances over the remainder of the season, with an expected total of 17 starts and possibly more. Veteran Donnie Wingo returns to crew chief the team in 2011.
    “It’s pretty awesome that the Wood Brothers have the confidence in me to believe that I can do it as a rookie,” said Bayne, who will turn 20 on the day before the Daytona 500. “That says a lot about our relationship already.”
    Eddie Wood, co-owner of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, said NASCAR’s oldest team is excited to get back to the track with its youngest Sprint Cup driver ever. “We’re really excited to be starting the season with Trevor,” Wood said. “It’s something new for us. We had a good race at Texas last year. That’s where it all started.” Bayne’s early racing years also have other similarities to the Woods, including the ability to capture checkered flags. In addition to their triumphs in other racing series, the Woods have won 97 Sprint Cup races and 118 poles in Sprint Cup alone since 1953. Bayne said he’s eager to prove that he’s ready to race in NASCAR’s top series. “I’m looking forward to my first year in Cup,” he said. “I know it’s not full time, but it’s been my dream since I was five years old. And you couldn’t ask for a better group of people to have behind you. Donnie Wingo has been incredible, and he and the guys on the team have lot of experience and have been great mentors. “Hopefully we’ll continue to gain momentum and represent the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Team well, on and off the track.”(Wood Brothers Racing)(1-20-2011)

  • Mears and Germain team up for at least 20 races: Casey Mears will run at least 20 races – and possibly the full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule – for Germain Racing in their #13 Toyota Camry. "We are running Casey in the #13 car for at least 20 races... maybe full season," said team owner Bob Germain via email Tuesday. "(We will run) the first six for sure... then will see where we are in points." Germain Racing fielded its #13 Toyota with GEICO sponsorship for Max Papis/Mears last season. There has been no word on sponsorship for the Mears/Germain tandem.(Sirius Speedway)
    SPONSOR? last season Mears said GEICO would be back to sponsor the team in 2011 for 18 races.(FoxSports)(1-19-2011)
    UPDATE 2: confirmed that GEICO will be sponsoring the #13 Germain entry for 18 races this year and 18 races in 2012 as well. The team attempted all 36 races in 2010 and GEICO was the sponsor for 20 of those races.(1-20-2011)

  • Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway, saved....for now: Nashville’s Fairgrounds Speedway, a 53-year-old track where many of NASCAR’s giants competed over the decades, has avoided the wrecking ball – at least temporarily. Metro Council on Tuesday voted to hold off on demolishing the track as part of a “redevelopment” of the 114-acre city-owned property. The vote was a major setback for Nashville Mayor Carl Dean who had lobbied hard for the track’s destruction.
    A campaign led by former Speedway racers Sterling Marlin, Darrell Waltrip, Chad Chaffin and others was able to gain the reprieve for the track. They want to present an alternate plan for the site – a plan that will preserve auto racing, the State Fair, Flea Market and other traditional events. The Save-the-Track group, with Marlin its most visible spokesman, is requesting a 15-year lease from the city to allow investors to make capital improvements. “There’s too much history here to just pave it over,” said Marlin , whose father Coo Coo was a four-time track champion in the 1960’s. Sterling added three more championships in the 1980’s before moving on to a NASCAR career that was highlighted by two Daytona 500 victories.
    The mayor claimed that the Fairgrounds property could be re-developed and used to increase tax revenues. His critics pointed out that the same could be said for the thousands of acres of city parks, golf courses, tennis courts and even a sailboat marine that the city owns and maintains at taxpayer expense. During a heated Tuesday night Council meeting, a neighborhood group complained that the track noise hurts their quality of life and reduces real estate values. But track proponents pointed out that the track has been there for 53 years – and racing has been on the site for more than a century – and anyone who moved into the neighborhood did so knowing they were moving next to a racetrack. It was also noted that the surrounding property was bought at bargain prices and would escalate in value if the track is demolished – a real estate windfall that might be more of a motive than any improved “quality of life.” With the track’s demolition on hold, the next step in the process will be for Marlin’s group to present an alternate plan for the Council’s consideration.(RacinToday)(1-20-2011)

  • Martinsville Construction Project On Target: Despite two winter storms and day after day of frigid temperatures, construction efforts at Martinsville Speedway are on target to be completed well before the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 on April 3. The project, including new concession stands and restrooms, should be under roof by the end of this week, and totally finished by the first week of March. The new, large concession stands and restrooms, are located on the first-turn end of the front stretch and includes men and women’s restrooms, which double the size of the ones they replace. Every effort was made to include amenities and improvements requested by fans, like more sinks in the ladies restrooms and larger stalls. All of the new buildings meet ADA requirements. The concession stands not only will serve the fans in a much more efficient and timely manner, but will also have a very distinct new look to them. The construction project is being funded by a Virginia Tobacco Commission grant of $1.5 million, which is being matched by Martinsville Speedway. There are about 15 subcontractors involved in the project, according to Magee. All but one of those subcontractors is from the Martinsville and Henry County area, Magee said. About 50 jobs were created by the project with about 25 workers onsite at any given time, according to Magee. Tickets for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 weekend are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-20-2011)

  • PBR executive named to head LVMS sales team: Kevin Camper has been named senior vice president of sales and marketing for Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Camper comes to LVMS from his post as chief partnership and sales officer for the Professional Bull Riders Association. Prior to his stint at the PBR, Camper served as vice president of sales and marketing for Texas Motor Speedway. Camper, 39, is a graduate of Liberty University. He worked for the Texas Rangers before joining the Texas Motor Speedway sales team in 1996. Camper will relocate to Las Vegas with his wife, Meredith; son, Chase; and daughter, Emma.(LVMS)(1-20-2011)


    News from January 19, 2011

  • McMurray re-signs with Ganassi: #1-Jamie McMurray has finalized a multi-year deal with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, his agent confirmed on Wednesday. ESPN.com reported in July after McMurray won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis that EGR was in the process of negotiating a new deal. McMurray signed a one-year deal when he came to EGR from Roush Fenway Racing last season. McMurray's agent, Rod Moskowitz, said there never was a doubt that a new deal would be reached based on the driver's relationship with EGR and sponsors Bass Pro Shops and McDonald's. "It's obviously a formality," Moskowitz said.(ESPN.com)(1-19-2011)

  • Nadeau to mentor Jeffrey Earnhardt: former Sprint Cup driver & winner, Jerry Nadeau has been hired as driver coach for Rookie of the Year candidate Jeffrey Earnhardt in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Jeffrey Earnhardt is a 4th generation NASCAR driver & grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt. Nadeau will be mentoring Jeffrey not only on track at the races, but off track as well. Dale Earnhardt Sr., raced against Nadeau on many occasions with, in sad irony, Nadeau actually winning the last race Dale Sr. competed in prior to the Daytona 500 race which claimed Dale Sr.’s life.
    Nadeau has intimate knowledge of the inherent dangers himself, experiencing a near fatal wreck on May 2, 2003, during a practice session at Richmond International Raceway for the Pontiac Excitement 400. Nadeau suffered complete immobility of the left side of his body, a skull fracture, concussion, and several broken ribs. Nadeau no longer races but has successfully taken on the role of mentor before, thus giving him a proven track record in this capacity. In 2006 Nadeau worked with rookie David Gilliland, who went on to win the Nationawide race at Kentucky. “I see the raw talent in Jeffrey and I feel that with the proper guidance he can be taken to the top of the sport,” said Nadeau. He also offered, "I think my experience helping other drivers and as a former driver myself, this will provide good insight for Jeffrey on the track. Jeffrey is a talented driver and just needs a little coaching and someone who can pull the reigns on him when needed. This should be a fun season and I'm excited to work with him."
    Earnhardt will be competing in a full season in the 2011 NCWTS in the #1 Rick Ware Racing Fuel Doctor Chevy and is very happy to have Nadeau on board saying, "I'm excited to have Jerry with us to work with me as a mentor and driver coach. I think he will be instrumental in shortening my learning curve as a driver."(JEI/Fuel Doctor Racing)(1-19-2011)

  • Steve Wallace guaranteed a spot in Daytona 500? UPDATE 2: #77 Penske Racing team owner Roger Penske verified that the #77 car's [owners points, was 30th in 2010] points will be used by Stephen Wallace, who is attempting to make his Cup debut at Daytona. Wallace, 23, currently drives the #66 Toyota for his father at Rusty Wallace Racing [in the Nationwide Series].(in part from FoxSports), so Wallace is guaranteed making the Daytona 500.(1-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Rusty Wallace is working on putting a Daytona 500 ride together for his son, Steve, but does not have the deal completed, according to Greg Wallace, Rusty's oldest son. If the deal gets done, Wallace, 23, possibly could get the owner points of the Penske Racing #77 car from 2010, which would lock him in the field for his Cup debut. "In the past, Rusty has expressed a well-known interest in having Steve compete in this year's Daytona 500, either with RWR or an established Cup team," said Greg, who is vice president of Rusty Wallace Racing. "Various opportunities have arisen for that to happen, but as of now, nothing has been completed."(Sporting News)(1-18-2011)

    UPDATE 2 - Steve Wallace to make Cup debut: Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) announced that 23 year-old Steve Wallace will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in February's 53rd annual running of NASCAR's most prestigious event, the Daytona 500. Wallace will pilot the #77 Toyota Camry for RWR at Daytona, with backing from longtime sponsor 5-Hour Energy and new partner Aspen Dental. When Steve Wallace and the 5-Hour Energy Camry take the green flag on February 20th at NASCAR's most historic venue, the well-pedigreed racer will write his own chapter in NASCAR history. His Sprint Cup debut will make the Wallace family the first ever to have produced four Daytona 500 competitors, breaking a longtime tie with the Petty, Allison, Earnhardt and Bodine families. When Wallace starts the 2011 event, a member of his family will have competed in 27 of the last 30 Daytona 500s.
    The third-generation driver will have familiar leadership for his first run in The Great American Race, as RWR General Manager, Larry Carter, will serve as crew chief for the #77 5-Hour Energy Toyota. A veteran Sprint Cup crew chief, Carter led Rusty Wallace to a top-ten in the elder Wallace's final Daytona 500 in 2005, as well as a fourth-place finish in the July 2005 event at Daytona.
    Providing additional comfort to the younger Wallace in his Cup Series debut is a guaranteed place among the 43-car starting field, enabled through an agreement between RWR and Penske Racing.
    Said Steve Wallace, "Starting my first Daytona 500 is definitely going to be the most exciting day of my career-make that my life-so far. It's something that every kid wanting to be a racer-including me-dreams of doing one day. It's the some of the best drivers in the world competing in the biggest race in the world. I really have to thank 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental for making this possible. As far as the race, my goals are simple: to stay out of trouble, earn all the respect I can from the other guys and make sure the 5-Hour Energy Toyota is there at the end of the race. The way restrictor plate racing goes, if we can do that, there's no telling what can happen."
    Team owner Rusty Wallace shares his son's enthusiasm for the event. "This is a big event for all of us-for Steve, our team, our family and our sponsors," Wallace stated, "When you're a young driver coming up, you dream about racing in the Daytona 500 and now Steve's going to get the opportunity to do it. He's grown by leaps and bounds as a driver in the Nationwide Series over the last few years and we think he's ready for this opportunity. We've been looking at this race as an opportunity for a while, because I really believe that the new pavement at Daytona is going to be a great equalizer among the teams. The cars will have a ton of grip and it's going to make handling a much smaller part of the equation.(Rusty Wallace Racing)(1-19-2011)

  • Wix teams up with Stewart Haas Racing: WIX Filters has joined Stewart-Haas Racing as the team's official filter. The two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team will use WIX Filters in Tony Stewart's #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy and Ryan Newman's #39 U.S. Army/Tornados/Haas Automation Chevy. To kick off the partnership, WIX Filters will be the primary sponsor of Newman and the #39 team in the Feb. 12 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. WIX Filters will rejoin Newman and the #39 team as primary sponsor for the Aug. 21 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where Newman is a two-time Sprint Cup race victor and a one-time pole winner. When not serving as a primary sponsor, WIX Filters will have brand identification beneath the hoods of both Stewart-Haas Racing entries and on the sleeve of Newman's uniform.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(1-19-2011)

  • The official annoucement Elliott to Phoenix Racing: For the first time in his career, Bill Elliott will start the season as a Chevrolet driver. He has teamed up with James Finch's Phoenix Racing to run the #09 Chevrolet in a minimum of 18 races this season. The new combo will start the season at Daytona, where Elliott has four Sprint Cup wins including two in the Daytona 500 and Finch has finishes of third, fourth, ninth, 10th and 12th. Phoenix Racing team also has a Cup victory at Daytona's sister track, Talladega Superspeedway, in 2009 with Brad Keselowski driving. "It's big for us and big for Chevrolet to get Bill Elliott," Finch said. "It's the first time in his career that he's committed to race a Chevrolet." Finch also said he was confident that even at age 55 Elliott, whose previous Cup wins have come in Fords and Dodges, can get the job done in his Chevrolets. "With the right equipment, he's ready," Finch said. "He was just a couple of hundredths of a second off the pole at Homestead last year." Nick Harrison will serve as crew chief on the #09 Impala, and the team will use engines from Hendrick Motorsports. Bill Elliott said he's excited to be moving to Phoenix Racing and to the Chevrolet camp.
    "I think this will be a really good deal," he said. "James has really good race cars, and there's no doubt about the Hendrick equipment. After all, look at all the championships they've won." Elliott, who will climb in the #09 for the first time on Thursday {jan 20th] during testing at Daytona International Speedway, said he's pleased to have the opportunity to drive proven equipment at this stage of his career. He plans to make the most of it. "This may well be my last really good chance as a driver," he said. "I'm going to give it my best shot. I feel like I'm still in good shape, and I thought we ran pretty good last year." Finch said he hopes to run the full Sprint Cup schedule with the #09, and he plans to run a limited Nationwide Series schedule, focusing on the restrictor-plate tracks. "I'm going to concentrate on the Cup side," Finch said. "We'll see what we can do."(Bill Elliott Racing)(1-19-2011)

  • Dale Jarrett to be honored: Former NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett of Conover, NC is among the 2011 North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame honorees. Retired Carolina Panthers receiver Ricky Proehl of Greensboro, Larry Lindsey of Wake Forest, Tom Parham of Emerald Isle, Jerry Tolley of Elon, the late Gene Overby, and Al Proctor of Raleigh also will join 274 men and women previously enshrined. The 48th induction banquet will be May12 at the North Raleigh Hilton Hotel. Ticket information is available from www.ncshof.org or by calling 919-845-3455. Jarrett won the Daytona 500 three times and claimed the 1999 Winston Cup title. He will join father Ned Jarrett in the Hall of Fame to comprise the second father-son duo so honored - the other being Lee and Richard Petty.(Charlotte Observer)(1-19-2011)

  • Former NASCAR driver injured in stabbing: The Henry County Sheriff's Office is investigating the malicious wounding of former NASCAR driver and current engine supplier (shopHEMI) Joey Arrington (9 Cup starts) of Oak Level Road, Bassett, VA. On January 15, 2011, Deputies were summoned to the Oak Level area in reference to Arrington being stabbed. He was treated at the Martinsville Memorial Hospital for two stab wounds to his chest and later transported to Carillion Hospital in Roanoke Va. where he was treated and released. Arrington told police his ex-girlfriend, Katherine Elaine "Kathy" Mullins, came to his residence. An altercation started which ended with Arrington being stabbed and his personal property being damaged.(full story at Martinsville Daily)(1-19-2011)

  • How would had points looked in 2010 using 'simplier' method?: Tom Bowles from Sports Illustrated redid the 2010 points, using the possible new and simplier points system that NASCAR may go to according to an AP report. Here is the final top 12:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson: 388
    #29-Kevin Harvick: 387
    #11-Denny Hamlin: 386
    #99-Carl Edwards: 340
    #17-Matt Kenseth: 314
    #16-Greg Biffle: 293
    #14-Tony Stewart: 287
    #24-Jeff Gordon: 279 (+1 spot over current system)
    #33-Clint Bowyer: 272 (+1)
    #18-Kyle Busch: 267 (-2)
    #2-Kurt Busch: 265
    #31-Jeff Burton: 232
    But what about the bonus points, you're asking? That hasn't been divulged by NASCAR either, but let's pretend it's one point for leading a lap, two extra for leading the most and a three-point bonus for winning. So that would mean the max a driver could score per race is 48, leaving a possible 47-point swing between first and last place.(see full article at the Sports Illustrated)(1-19-2011)

  • Mears and Germain team up for at least 20 races: Casey Mears will run at least 20 races – and possibly the full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule – for Germain Racing in their #13 Toyota Camry. "We are running Casey in the #13 car for at least 20 races... maybe full season," said team owner Bob Germain via email Tuesday. "(We will run) the first six for sure... then will see where we are in points." Germain Racing fielded its #13 Toyota with GEICO sponsorship for Max Papis/Mears last season, qualifying for a total of 18 races, in addition to five DNQs. There has been no word on sponsorship for the Mears/Germain tandem.(Sirius Speedway)
    SPONSOR? last season Mears said GEICO would be back to sponsor the team in 2011 for 18 races.(FoxSports)(1-19-2011)

  • Texas Motor Speedway to be featured on 'Chase': Texas Motor Speedway will be the backdrop for scenes on Wednesday night's NBC TV show Chase, featuring Cole Hauser, Kelli Giddish and Jesse Metcalfe. The cast and crew of Jerry Bruckheimer filmed chase scenes on the track and in the garages at Texas Motor Speedway in December. Chase is scheduled to air Wednesday, January 19thy at 9:00pm/et.(TMS)(1-19-2011)

  • #66 returns in 2011, renamed HP Racing, goes part time: HP Racing, LLC, a renamed entity [formerly PRISM Motorsports] formed by owners Randy Humphrey and Phil Parsons is pleased to announce the formation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team HP Racing (HP). Debuting in 2011 HP is set to compete with the #66 Toyota Camry with driver Michael McDowell at the controls. McDowell qualified for 17 Sprint Cup Series races in 2010 driving for PRISM Motorsports, including the Daytona 500 in February. After moving into a spacious shop at the JTG Racing facility in Harrisburg, North Carolina, the team is currently expanding its fleet of Sprint Cup Series cars and upgrading equipment. The crew chief will be Gene Nead and is slated to run the Daytona 500. "It is great to reunite with Randy and Phil at HP. The new shop and equipment will help us develop partnerships to grow this race team and help us push into the next level of competition," McDowell expressed. "I have had great success with Gene Nead in the past and feel confident we can qualify and run competitively in the races we attempt."
    Aside from Daytona, HP intends to compete in select races, including events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International, with others to be named at a later date. HP is actively seeking sponsorship to fund the remaining races on the Sprint Cup Series Schedule and is positioning itself as a viable race team for partnership with organizations looking to break into the racing industry. "HP is a reinvention of our race team that has been operating for a couple years. We're still the same people, but we see this as a tremendous opportunity to compete on a more consistent basis in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series," said Co-Owner Phil Parsons.
    "We really feel like we've elevated our program and we're thrilled about the team we've put together. It's an exciting time for us and we're thankful to be able to reunite Gene Nead and Michael McDowell. We have all the elements in place to succeed, and with sponsorship we'll be able to race competitively on a consistent basis," Co-Owner Randy Humphrey commented.(HP Racing PR)(1-19-2011)

  • LVMS to launch major youth initiative for NASCAR Weekend: Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be an extremely youth-friendly place during the March 4-6 NASCAR Weekend.
    Thanks to a partnership with Smith’s Food & Drug Stores, the Smith’s Youth Initiative will allow fans 15 years of age and younger to receive a 50% discount on all tickets for the March 6 Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event on March 5 and the March 4 Stratosphere NASCAR Pole Day. Discounted tickets are available for weekend-package tickets as well as single-day events.
    In addition, race fans 15 years and under will receive free admission to the Neon Garage fan experience when accompanied by an adult. Both kids and accompanying adults must have a race ticket to participate in the Neon Garage promotion. The Neon Garage gives race fans the best access to drivers, Las Vegas-style entertainment and is home to the post-race Victory Lane celebration. The discounts and half-price tickets can represent a savings of more than $300 per person. The promotion will begin Thursday and will run as long as supplies last.
    Young fans also are invited to visit the new Extreme Sports Zone on the midway at LVMS during NASCAR Weekend. The Extreme Sports Zone will feature professional BMX exhibitions, a skate park and HobbyTown USA’s R/C car racing track. Young fans are encouraged to bring their skateboards and bikes to enjoy the sports zone during breaks in the professional exhibitions. To take part in the Smith’s Youth Initiative parents and guardians should visit www.lvms.com or call the speedway at (800) 644-4444 and ask for promote code: Smith’s.(LVMS)(1-19-2011)

  • Last chance to lock in lowest tix prices at Michigan: Michigan International Speedway is giving fans one last chance to cash-in on the lowest prices of the 2011 season. Monday, Jan. 31 is the last day to place a deposit on tickets and camping for 2011. After that, ticket prices will increase for the Sunday NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. In addition, January 31 will be the last date for infield campers to take advantage of the $60 three-day wristband price. Payment plan options are also still available for customers who place a deposit by Jan. 31. To take advantage of the lowest prices of the season, fans should call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 to open their account.(MIS)(1-19-2011)

  • Area Hotels join with Bristol, drops rates, minimum nights: Five Tri-Cities area hotels, in partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway, lowered per-night room rates for 2011 and dropped a previous three-night minimum to two. The AmericInn Lodge & Suites in Jonesborough, Tenn., The Comfort Inn in Abingdon and Bristol, Va., The Comfort Suites in Abingdon, Va., and the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Bristol, Va., lowered requirements for the coming racing season, the first properties to join the fan-friendly Bristol initiative. The participating hotels will be listed on the BMS website, in the BMS Magazine and named in mailings to ticket holders. Tickets are available to all events and may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office toll free at 1-866-415-4158, 423-BRISTOL (274-7865) or 423-989-6900 or by visiting www.bristoltix.com.(BMS)(1-19-2011)


    News from January 18, 2011

  • NASCAR may scrap points system? UPDATE: NASCAR is considering scrapping the points system it has used since 1975 in favor of a simpler method that awards points per finishing position. The overhauling of the system is one of a handful of changes NASCAR is considering implementing before the season begins next month. Series officials have been detailing their ideas in individual meetings with teams. The sanctioning body wants to go to a scoring system that would award 43 points to the race winner, and one point less for each ensuing position down to one point for the 43rd-place finisher. NASCAR is also shying away from wholesale changes to its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format. Teams have been told NASCAR is leaning toward keeping it a 12-driver field, with one caveat: The top 10 drivers following the 26th race of the season would qualify for the Chase, while the remaining two spots would go to the drivers with the most wins who are not already eligible for the Chase. Preseason testing begins Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, and NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton are scheduled to discuss some of the changes planned for 2011. But the major announcements aren't scheduled until next week when France makes a presentation during Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour. NASCAR is still debating how to award bonuses under a straight points system, and ideas being considered are for anywhere from one to three points being given to lap leaders and race winners.(in part from the Associated Press)(1-17-2011)
    UPDATE: Ramsey Poston, NASCAR managing director of corporate communications, said the sanctioning body has bounced several new competition ideas around to drivers and car owners in a recent series of town hall meetings. "NASCAR executives, including chairman and CEO Brian France, are in the process of meeting with drivers and team owners," Poston said in a phone interview Monday night. "In those meetings we have discussed a number of ideas for potential changes for the coming season, none of which have been finalized at this point." NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton will address 2011 rule changes in a news conference scheduled Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "We need to balance stories from past and look to the future to make things better," Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said from his home Monday night.
    Darrell Waltrip won three Cup championships during his driving career, all with the current points system [but no Chase]. Contacted at his home near Nashville, Tenn., Monday night, he said changing the points would have little effect on who wins the championship. "If you run the numbers, I guarantee you it comes out the same," said Waltrip, now a racing analyst for Fox Sports. "It's all perception. I've said all along, when we can't explain it, so the people at home can understand it, it needs to be addressed. If you look at the history, 90% of the time, the championship comes down to two guys, sometimes three." Chitwood said he hopes to see the change because it would make the points system easier for fans to understand. "We can never stop improving our sport, whether it is what we do at the track or what NASCAR does to manage competition," Chitwood said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-18-2011)

  • more 2011 images added: #78 Furniture Row, #99 Subway, #4 Red Bull w/blue number, #6 UPS, #83 Red Bull silver and #1 Bass Pro Shop to the Paint Scheme Gallery

  • Elliott in the #09 Chevy for 2011 UPDATE 3: Trevor Bayne will be working with Wood Brothers Racing in 2011. Bill Elliott will move from the Wood Brothers to the #09 Chevy at Phoenix Racing.(Augusta Chronicle)(12-20-2010)
    UPDATE denied? James Finch [Phoenix Racing] says he has no plans to put Bill Elliott in his #09 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)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that #09 Pheonix Racing will make an announcement soon regarding the 2011 season, if not by Thursday, we will probably see who is driving the car in the Daytona test, supposedly Bill Elliott will be the driver.(1-17-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Bill Elliott will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing entry for a limited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule beginning with the Daytona 500, team owner James Finch confirmed on Monday. "Hopefully, he will run 18 races, maybe more, depending on sponsorship," Finch said. "It's great to have NASCAR's most popular driver ever in our car. We've been friends with him a long time and we're happy to have him in the car." Finch said the team will test this week at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Speedweeks in February. Nick Harris will serve as Elliott's crew chief. The Chevys will be powered with Hendrick motors.(FoxSports)(1-17-2011)
    UPDATE 4: Elliott said he plans to run at least 18 races in the James Finch-owned car, and said that he feels he's plenty capable of giving the car a good run. "I'm still in good shape physically," he said, adding that he was pleased with the way he ran at times last fall in the Wood Brothers Ford. The team will use engines and equipment from Hendrick Motorsports, and the deal also means that Finch will help support Elliott's son, Chase, who stunned the short track world with his success in 2010, when he won the Winchester 400, a race at North Wilkesboro Speedway and the Gulf Coast championship, which includes racing at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL and Mobile International Speedway. "I watched Chase at the Snowball Derby," Finch said. "That kid's going to be the real deal." Finch said he plans to run the full Sprint Cup schedule with the #09, and that Elliott could make more starts depending on sponsorship. He said he's cutting back on his Nationwide Series efforts and will focus on the races at Daytona and Talladega.(RacinToday)(1-18-2011)


    News from January 17, 2011

  • NASCAR may scrap points system? NASCAR is considering scrapping the points system it has used since 1975 in favor of a simpler method that awards points per finishing position. The overhauling of the system is one of a handful of changes NASCAR is considering implementing before the season begins next month. Series officials have been detailing their ideas in individual meetings with teams. The sanctioning body wants to go to a scoring system that would award 43 points to the race winner, and one point less for each ensuing position down to one point for the 43rd-place finisher. NASCAR is also shying away from wholesale changes to its Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format. Teams have been told NASCAR is leaning toward keeping it a 12-driver field, with one caveat: The top 10 drivers following the 26th race of the season would qualify for the Chase, while the remaining two spots would go to the drivers with the most wins who are not already eligible for the Chase. Preseason testing begins Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, and NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton are scheduled to discuss some of the changes planned for 2011. But the major announcements aren't scheduled until next week when France makes a presentation during Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour. NASCAR is still debating how to award bonuses under a straight points system, and ideas being considered are for anywhere from one to three points being given to lap leaders and race winners.(in part from the Associated Press)(1-17-2011)

  • Blaney to drive Baldwin's #36 on 2011: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced that the team will run the #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy in its third year of competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney will pilot the #36 in all 36 events and will kick off the season with the 53rd Annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 20th. The team will complete 16 events and look to add more events through innovative partnership packages. Although TBR will attempt to qualify each week, the team will target 16 races to complete until proper funding is found to complete the remaining 20 events. Going into the season opener in Daytona, the targeted races include: two races at Daytona, Phoenix, Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond and New Hampshire, as well as events at Darlington, Infineon, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. “Our plan is in place to compete in 16 events with or without sponsorship,” explained Baldwin. “We would definitely love to bring a sponsor on board to support our team in those 16 races and more. We will continue to seek more funding and add to our schedule by developing unique and customized packages for potential partners. We have put together a comprehensive package for partners looking for an economical entrance into the sport of NASCAR.”
    In addition to reuniting with TBR this season, Blaney will work with Tommy Baldwin as his crew chief again. The Hartford, Ohio, native made six starts in the #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy during the 2010 NSCS season with a season-best finish of 30th at Richmond International Raceway. Baldwin worked as Blaney’s crew chief for two seasons at Bill Davis Racing. “I am very excited to get back into the #36 Chevy,” explained Blaney. “TBR ended the year with great promise and rebuilt their fleet of cars in the off-season. With that and our previous experience together, I think we will hit the ground running.” The TBR team will head to Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, January 20 to participate in the open test for the Daytona 500 before returning to the World Center of Racing for the biggest race of the NSCS season, the Daytona 500. TBR’s driver development program, Heinke-Baldwin Racing, will also compete in various NASCAR series in 2011.(Tommy Baldwin Racing/Heinke-Baldwin Racing)(1-17-2011)

  • Elliott in the #09 Chevy for 2011 UPDATE 3: 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)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that #09 Pheonix Racing will make an announcement soon regarding the 2011 season, if not by Thursday, we will probably see who is driving the car in the Daytona test, supposedly Bill Elliott will be the driver.(1-17-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Bill Elliott will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing entry for a limited NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule beginning with the Daytona 500, team owner James Finch confirmed on Monday. “Hopefully, he will run 18 races, maybe more, depending on sponsorship," Finch said. “It’s great to have NASCAR’s most popular driver ever in our car. We’ve been friends with him a long time and we’re happy to have him in the car.” Finch said the team will test this week at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for Speedweeks in February. Nick Harris will serve as Elliott’s crew chief. The Chevys will be powered with Hendrick motors.(FoxSports)(1-17-2011)

  • NASCAR 2011: The Game, release delayed: Eutechnyx delays new racing sim from February to March 29 for more polish; will debut on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii. In late September, Activision confirmed it had entered a multiyear deal with Britain-based development studio Eutechnyx to publish multiple NASCAR video games. The first of the bunch, NASCAR 2011: The Game, was pegged for release in February, but that's no longer the case. The delay of game was announced via the game's official forums recently, and Eutechnyx's community manager explained why pushing the title back was a necessary move for the studio. "The main reason is we simply wanted more time to polish it and hopefully make it the experience you guys are craving," reads the statement. "It's never easy to delay a game as it can cause a lot of disappointment, but we genuinely feel that by doing this you guys will be even happier with the end product."(Gamespot)(1-17-2011)

  • Kevin Swindell wins Chili Bowl: It took 25 years for a back-to-back winner to happen at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Presented by General Tire, and it was only fitting that it was a Swindell to do it on the event’s Silver Anniversary. [part time Nationwide Series driver] Kevin Swindell added a Silver Driller to his trophy case that will likely sit beside the Golden Driller he won in 2010, as he held off a late charge from his father and five-time Chili Bowl champ, Sammy, on the final lap to take the victory in the 50-lap main event. Sammy Swindell notched his third straight podium finish at the QuikTrip Center, while hard-charging New Zealander Michael Pickens overcame an early incident to charge his way back into the third spot. Native Oklahoman Jonathan Beason finished fourth after starting Saturday night in the B Main, and Bryan Clauson, who led the race’s first 12 laps, finished fifth.(Chili Bowl site)(1-17-2011)

  • Stewart questioned/released by Australian police UPDATE2: #14-Tony Stewart has allegedly been involved in a off-track incident at Sydney Speedway which has seen him interviewed by Parramatta police this morning. Stewart was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with speedway co-owner and former driver Brett Morris after early-evening time trials. It is believed that Stewart, who is racing for a team owned by Morris’ business partner and Australian speedway legend Garry Rush, had issues about track conditions after a Hot Lap session and made them known to Morris. A helmet and punches were rumored to be thrown and exchanged during the alleged altercation. Stewart has been competing for the second consecutive year in Australia during his NASCAR “off season”. Staff at Parramatta Police Station confirmed to Speedcafe.com.au this morning at 12.49am (AEDST) that Stewart was being held for questioning, but indicated that nothing could be confirmed about the incident until later today – including whether Stewart had been officially charged or whether similar charges were being pursued by Stewart against Morris. The final outcome of this situation could result in a raft of ramifications including Stewart’s scheduled departure from the country later today, legal requirements back in Australia if it is found he has questions to answer and the overall effect this will have on Australia-US speedway relationships.(SpeedCafe)(1-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart has walked free after being arrested by local police at the Sydney Raceway last night, but his troubles might not be over just yet. It is understood that Stewart was free to fly back to the US today with fellow US star Donny Schatz, but that further investigations of an alleged assault between Stewart and Sydney Raceway co-owner Brett Morris are on-going. It is believed that Morris, while talked to at the scene of the alleged incident last night, is yet to be formally interviewed. If Morris is interviewed and it is found that Stewart has a case to answer, there is a chance that Stewart may be required to return to Australia for court proceedings. The NSW Police media unit issued the following statement yesterday, which was authorised by area commander, acting Superintendant, Garry Sims.
    “Police from Rosehill local area command were alerted to an altercation involving two men at a car racing track at Wentworth St Granville (Sydney Raceway) about 7.30pm last night. A 39 year-old man was arrested at the scene and was taken to Parramatta Police Station after a 46 year-old man was allegedly struck in the face by a racing helmet. The 39 year-old man was released by police without charge, pending further investigation.” Sydney Speedway General Manager, David Lander had little to say about the incident, shrugging off the incident as basically a “tiff” between two drivers. “It is a matter for those two guys (Stewart and Morris),” said Lander. “It was a Ruckus in the pits between two drivers. It happens. There is no more that I can say or I am prepared to say.”(SpeedCafe)(1-16-2011)
    UPDATE 2: But the Sydney Morning Herald said Stewart didn't escape the incident without some damage – namely, a black eye. Stewart's public relations representative confirmed to SB Nation the driver has left the country and was "simply questioned about the alleged incident. After the questioning, he returned to his hotel, got a good night's rest and is currently en route to the states," Stewart spokesman Mike Arning said via e-mail. "No charges were filed."(SB Nation)(1-17-2011)

  • Qualifying for Pocono races switch to Saturday: The starting lineup for both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Pocono Raceway in 2011 will be determined on Saturday. "The move to Saturday qualifying, traditionally held on Friday, will allow more race fans to enjoy the competition to determine the pole position and the other starting positions ," stated Raceway President, Brandon Igdalsky."Our fans will enjoy a full day of racing action as Sprint Cup qualifying joins an already exciting Saturday schedule at Pocono Raceway."
    Qualifying for the June 12, Pocono 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, will be held on Saturday, June 11. The Pocono 200, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event, will follow qualifying.
    The August 7, Pennsylvania 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event weekend will feature two sets of qualifying and two 125 mile races on Saturday August 6; the Pocono Mountains 125, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event and the Pennsylvania 125, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event. Qualifying for the Pocono Mountains 125 and the Pennsylvania 500 are scheduled for Saturday morning. The Pocono Mountains 125 and the Pennsylvania 125 races are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
    There will be no shortage of on track action on Friday of both race weekends. A total of close to five hours of practice for the Pocono 500 and Pocono 200, plus Pocono 200 qualifying will be featured on June 10. More than six hours of practice for the Pennsylvania 500, Pocono Mountains 125 and the Pennsylvania 125 are scheduled for August 5. Qualifying for the Pennsylvania 125 will follow practice on August 5.
    Tickets for the Pocono 500 and Pennsylvania 500 weekends are on sale now. To purchase tickets call toll free 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929) or online at www.poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway)(1-17-2011)

  • RIR names John Moreland VP of Marketing: Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz announced the promotion of John Moreland to Vice President of Marketing for America’s Premier Short Track. Moreland, who has more than eight years of experience in motorsports ticket sales and consumer marketing, joined Richmond International Raceway in December 2007 as the Director of Consumer Marketing. In his new role, he will oversee all aspects of the Marketing, Advertising and Promotions, Public Relations and Ticketing departments. Prior to joining the Richmond International Raceway team, Moreland served as the Sr. Director of Marketing and Sales for Michigan International Raceway, as well as the Venues Ticketing Manager for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.(RIR)(1-17-2011)

  • National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Ticket at Auto Club: Auto Club Speedway and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation have teamed together to offer race fans an exclusive ticket/hospitality race package to benefit the organization’s Foundation. Purchase a special $99 ticket to the March 27th Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and receive:
    · A lower reserved grandstand seat in rows 15-23 (upgrades available for an additional cost)
    · Pre-race Pit Pass
    · Parking
    · Admission to the NFFF hospitality pavilion (includes food and select beverages)
    · Special guest appearances in the hospitality pavilion
    · Commemorative ACS/NFFF navy blue event t-shirt
    · Donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
    · (Offer expires March 25, 2011 or while supplies last)
    Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (firehero.org) to lead a nationwide effort to honor America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the non-profit Foundation has developed and expanded programs that fulfill that mandate. Its mission is to honor and remember America's fallen fire heroes and to provide resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives. Each October, the Foundation sponsors the official national tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. Thousands attend the weekend activities held at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The weekend features special programs for survivors and coworkers along with moving public ceremonies. Call 909-429-5037 or visit autoclubspeedway.com/nfff for more information on the special NFFF package.(ACS)(1-17-2011)


    News from January 16, 2011

  • Carolina Christmas at CMS a success: The “Carolina Christmas” drive-through light park at Charlotte Motor Speedway met expectations in its first year, even with some tough weather challenges in December, according to the lead organizer. “It went great,” Mike Miller, president of Salisbury-based Miller Davis Inc., said Tuesday. “We’re not exactly sure on the total numbers ... but 200,000 plus people and some phenomenal nights.” Those big nights of more than 2,000 vehicles were tempered by evenings of low attendance because of the weather, even a snowy Christmas Day. Overall, he said the speedway received positive feedback on the drive-through light display, the Bethlehem village and skating rink. Miller said his company, which planned, marketed and oversaw the 42-night run of “Carolina Christmas,” already is tweaking things for a bigger Carolina Christmas in 2011. The 2.5-mile, drive-through park of 1 million lights in 2010 probably will expand to 4 miles this year. A “huge hit” in the first Carolina Christmas was visitors’ being able to drive on a portion of the Charlotte Motor Speedway’s high-banked track, Miller said. The light park will incorporate more of that experience in 2011. Also, the world’s largest television screen, or Jumbotron, will be installed at the track this year. It will be integrated into the speedway’s holiday celebration. Miller Davis is talking with several other venues, including other Bruton Smith-owned racetracks, about doing similar Christmas drive-through light parks. Winterland, the Indiana lighting contractor for Carolina Christmas, “has engaged us to help them expand light parks throughout the country,” Miller said.(Salisbury Post)(1-16-2011)


    News from January 15, 2011

  • No Daytona 500 or Nationwide races for Hornish UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr. will not be in anything Penske-owned in Daytona. He is basically done. Penske Racing downsized not only Hornish's NASCAR Sprint Cup organization, but also its Nationwide Series crew. [Penske] cannibalized the #77 crew of Hornish and what was left of the #12 Nationwide crew to make up the best for one with Brad Keselowksi's organization, whatever they were lacking in Nationwide, but also to beef up what is now the #2 car for Keselowski for the Cup season. (Fox Sports)
    BUT Brad Keselowski said on his twitter that Hornish would be his Nationwide Series teammate in 2011, driving the #12.(1-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr. will compete in at least 10 NASCAR Nationwide races this season, beginning with the DRIVEFORCOPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, team owner Roger Penske confirmed by email on Saturday. Chad Walters will serve as Hornish's crew chief. Penske's acknowledgment confirms a report earlier this week by FOXSports.com’s Jeff Hammond, who said Hornish would not return to Sprint Cup competition in a Penske car this season. Penske also verified that the #77 car's [owners points, was 30th in 2010] points will be used by Stephen Wallace, who is attempting to make his Cup debut at Daytona. Wallace, 23, currently drives the #66 Toyota for his father at Rusty Wallace Racing [in the Nationwide Series].(FoxSports), so Wallace is guaranteed making the Daytona 500.(1-15-2011)

  • Stewart questioned by Australian police about alleged altercation: #14-Tony Stewart has allegedly been involved in a off-track incident at Sydney Speedway which has seen him interviewed by Parramatta police this morning. Stewart was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with speedway co-owner and former driver Brett Morris after early-evening time trials. It is believed that Stewart, who is racing for a team owned by Morris' business partner and Australian speedway legend Garry Rush, had issues about track conditions after a Hot Lap session and made them known to Morris. A helmet and punches were rumored to be thrown and exchanged during the alleged altercation. Stewart has been competing for the second consecutive year in Australia during his NASCAR "off season". Staff at Parramatta Police Station confirmed to Speedcafe.com.au this morning at 12.49am (AEDST) that Stewart was being held for questioning, but indicated that nothing could be confirmed about the incident until later today – including whether Stewart had been officially charged or whether similar charges were being pursued by Stewart against Morris. The final outcome of this situation could result in a raft of ramifications including Stewart's scheduled departure from the country later today, legal requirements back in Australia if it is found he has questions to answer and the overall effect this will have on Australia-US speedway relationships.(SpeedCafe)(1-15-2011)

  • More teams test at Disney World: hearing that #29-Kevin Harvick and #00-David Reutimann also tested this week at the Walt Disney Speedway in Orlando, FL. #83-Brian Vickers tested there earlier this week. Also testing were the Camping World Truck Series #2, #3, #8, #33 & #88 teams.(1-15-2011)

  • Craven's duties expand at ESPN: Ricky Craven recently learned that in addition to his in-studio duties for the weekly NASCAR Now series and providing post-race Sprint Cup coverage for ESPN NEWS and SportsCenter, he will be in the booth serving as the color analyst for seven Nationwide Series races this season after doing five last year. "And I'll be down in Daytona (Fla.) for the whole week leading up to the Daytona 500 (Feb. 13-20). I was there just two days last year," said the 44-year-old Craven. He began doing bits for SportsCenter in the second half of the season a year ago. ESPN and ABC, which owns ESPN, will televise the final 17 Sprint Cup races beginning with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31.(Bangor Daily News)(1/15/2011)

  • EMPA Writers Award Renamed In Honor Of Jim Hunter: The Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) has renamed its annual award for excellence in motorsports journalism the EMPA/Jim Hunter Memorial Writers Award. Hunter, NASCAR's Vice President, Corporate Communications, and an avid supporter of the EMPA, passed away in 2010. "Jim was a friend of everyone he ever met," said EMPA President Len Sammons. "And he took great interest in EMPA, helping the organization with its activities, attending our annual Convention several times, and always gently steering us in the right direction. We certainly miss him for his guidance, but especially as a friend. That's why we're proud to rename our Writers Award in his honor and memory."
    "Jim Hunter was a rare individual," added EMPA Secretary John Snyder. "I always enjoyed listening to him, whether it was explaining a NASCAR situation, or retelling a great racing story from the past. No matter what title he held, however, in his heart he was always a newspaperman. It's only fitting that our EMPA Writers Award be named in his memory." In conjunction with the renaming of the Award, the late Frank Blunk, in whose honor the Award was originally named, will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame during the organizations' annual Convention in January 2012. Blunk was the first motorsports editor of The New York Times, serving in that capacity from the late 1950s until his retirement in 1968.(NASCAR)(1-15-2011)

  • Michael Waltrip Racing owners finish 20th in Dubai 24: Michael Waltrip Racing owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman unofficially finished 20th overall (11th in class) of 84 cars racing in the sixth annual Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the Dubai Autodrome. Waltrip and Kauffman were scheduled to race with co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin in the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team. But an electrical fire during warm-up prevented the car from racing. The two Americans joined the father-and-son driving team of Alexander Talkanista Sr., Alexander Talkanista Jr. of Belarus and Marco Frezza of Italy in the AF Corse team's #6 Ferrari before the race. Once the race began the #6 climbed as high as 12th but contact with another car about 4 hours into the race required nearly 30 minutes of repairs dropping the team to about 49th. The team rallied and appeared destined for a top ten finish but a broken drive shaft ruined its chances. The team spent more than 2 hours 44 minutes in the pits during the 24-hour race. The team's sister AF Corse car finished second. Waltrip and Kauffman raced in Dubai last year and in Belgium where they scored an impressive third-place finish on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. The pair expect to race together again in 2011. (more info and video links at the MWR site)(1-15-2011)

  • PRN Schedules 13 Live Broadcasts from The Speedway Club: Beginning Monday, Jan. 17, the Performance Racing Network (PRN) drops the green flag on the first in a series of 13 live broadcasts of the popular show "Fast Talk" from The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The broadcasts are scheduled from January to December and will be a part of the Club's "Man Cave Monday" promotion. Throughout the year the shows will include celebrity guests and co-hosts from the NASCAR industry, starting this Monday with Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace who will join "Fast Talk" host Doug Rice. "Fast Talk" gives listeners the opportunity to call or e-mail questions for the celebrity guests. Fans can call in during the show to 1-800-771-TALK (8255) between 7:00 and 8:00 pm/et to ask a question live on air. Fans can also submit questions on-site, as well as have an award-winning dining experience and a cold beverage of choice in The Speedway Club. PRN's "Fast Talk" can also be heard on the web. To catch the live broadcast or for a complete listing of PRN affiliates, visit www.goprn.com. Charlotte-area fans can attend the "Fast Talk" broadcast on Jan. 17 and make dinner reservations with The Speedway Club between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. by calling 704-455-3216. The event is free for Club members and for non-members who make dinner reservations. There is a $5 cover charge (applicable toward food and beverage) for those not dining.(PRN)(1-15-2011)

  • Chili Bowl: The 25th Chili Bowl takes place at Tulsa Expo Raceway in Oklahoma Jan 11-15th. A few drivers with NASCAR connection are scheduled to run in the events there, including J.J. Yeley, Ricky Stenhouse, Jason Leffler, Josh Wise, Bobby East, Tracy Hines, Tim McCreadie, Kevin Swindell, Bryan Clauson and A.J. Fike. Follow the news and more info at chilibowl.com.(1-14/15-2010)

  • Watkins Glen Fan Ambassador Program Applications Due by Jan 18th: Time is running out for fans to submit their applications to join the WGI team as a Fan Ambassador for the upcoming season. The deadline is Tuesday, January 18 which is this coming Tuesday! As part of the program, 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 that are interested in applying need to fill-out an application which can be downloaded by going to www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(1-15-2011)

  • Tickets on sale for Richmond triple header: Tickets for Richmond International Raceway's April 28-30 NASCAR tripleheader weekend are available for purchase. To purchase seats, visit www.rir.com, call 866-455-RACE (7223) or visit the ticket office at 600 E. Laburnum Ave., Richmond, VA 23222. Ticket office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additionally, fans who purchase tickets Friday at the ticket office will receive a complimentary Richmond International Raceway souvenir from past race events.
    This season features three new policies:
    · Larger Coolers Permitted: Fans are permitted to enter the grandstands with soft-sided coolers measuring up to 14 x 14 x 14 inches—six times the size of coolers that were previously allowed at America's Premier Short Track. Fans may continue to bring in their own food and beverages.
    · Wider Seats: Nearly all of Richmond International Raceway's grandstand seats now measure 22 inches wide.
    · Non-Smoking Grandstands: Smoking is not allowed in and in front of the grandstands, or in portals leading to seating. Smoking is permitted underneath and behind the grandstands, on the Midway, in all parking lots, among other areas.(RIR)(1-15-2011)

  • Improvements Should Mean Better Fan Experience At Martinsville: When fans return to Martinsville Speedway in April for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 they will find plenty of changes, all aimed at an improved fan experience. All seats have been widened to give fans more room … when they aren't standing up cheering. Fans will find new and improved restrooms and concession stands on the first-turn end of the front stretch. In that same area, the concourse under the grandstands has been widened by almost 30 feet, making the flow of pedestrian traffic much easier. A new, state-of-the-art speaker system has been installed which will provide much better sound quality than in the past. Carry-in and cooler policies have also been relaxed to allow fans to carry in larger coolers and bags for souvenirs and race gear.
    Here is a look at some of the improvements for the 2011 season:
    · Every grandstand seat has been widened giving each fan more seat room.
    · New and much larger restrooms and concession stands at the first-turn end of the front stretch will be completed in time for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 on April 3.
    · The concourse area has more than doubled in the area of the new restrooms and concession stands allowing much more room for pedestrian traffic.
    · Martinsville Speedway's carry-in policy has changed to allow one soft side bag or cooler, no larger than 14 x 14 x14. Also one lightweight backpack, similar to a daypack carried by school students, roughly 17 inches in length is now allowed.
    · The new sound system will feature 50 hi-tech speakers which will improve the quality of sound. All of the speakers have been positioned closer to the grandstands than in the past.
    Tickets for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 weekend are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-15-2011)


    News from January 14, 2011

  • International Motorsports Hall of Fame Announces 2011 Induction Class: The Board of Directors of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame are excited to announce the 2011 Class of Inductees on Wednesday, January 12 at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham, AL. The five inductees represent multiple forms of racing ranging from stock-car, Can-Am, sprint, and open-wheel. The Inductees, determined by a panel of 125 international motorsport media that will be enshrined to the Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 14, 2011 are: John Holman, Jan Opperman, Maurice Petty, Brian Redman, and Rex White. This year’s votes were tallied by Letson & Associates in Hoover, AL. “Congratulations to these exceptional motorsports legends that make up the 20th Anniversary Class of Inductees, “said IMHOF Executive Director Grant Lynch. “This year’s class consists of world-wide talent, what they have accomplished is in fact amazing and they are true pioneers in motorsports history.” More info on the IMHOF and tickets, go to motorsportshalloffame.com.(IMHOF Facebook)(1-14-2011)

  • Michael Waltrip Racing owners qualify for Dubai 24: Michael Waltrip Racing owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman will start 22nd in class and 27th overall in Friday’s Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome. More than 80 cars from 30 countries made qualifying efforts on Thursday. Waltrip and Kauffman along with co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin will pilot the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team in the sixth annual event that marks the first international motor race of the 2011 season. The 24-hour race will start on Friday at 2 p.m. local time (5:00 am/et).(more info and video links at the MWR site), Boris Said is another driver with NASCAR connections that is running the race.(1-14-2011)

  • Kasey Kahne Foundation funds new grant: The Kasey Kahne Foundation announced a donation to the NC STEM Community Collaborative that establishes a grant program to fund educational field trips to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The donation is a result of proceeds from the inaugural Kasey Kahne Foundation “Five Kahne Presented by Bank of America,” a 5K charity run held on Oct. 17 in Uptown Charlotte. “STEM is an important part of the education system,” said Kasey Kahne, driver of Red Bull Racing’s #4 car for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "This program will teach young students how important engineering and technology are to the racing industry.” The program’s goal is to provide middle school students an opportunity to augment the existing course of study in sciences and to foster interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through experiential learning field trips. The NC STEM initiative will fund field trips to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, including transportation, personnel, admission, lunch and material costs associated with each participating student.(KKF)(1-14-2011)

  • Chili Bowl: The 25th Chili Bowl takes place at Tulsa Expo Raceway in Oklahoma. A few drivers with NASCAR connection are scheduled to run in the events there, including J.J. Yeley, Ricky Stenhouse, Jason Leffler, Josh Wise, Bobby East, Tracy Hines, Tim McCreadie, Kevin Swindell and A.J. Fike. Follow the news and more info at chilibowl.com.(1-14-2010)

  • Stratosphere to sponsor Pole Day at Vegas: Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, one of Las Vegas’s most identifiable properties, has partnered with Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the title sponsor of NASCAR Pole Day on March 4. Stratosphere has hosted several driver autograph sessions for both NASCAR and NHRA over the past several years as well as press conferences and other media events. In 2011, the hotel also will host the annual Speedway Children’s Charities poker tournament in October. Stratosphere Pole Day will kick off NASCAR Weekend on the superspeedway with practice for both the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR. Nationwide Series race as well as qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 400 on Friday, March 4. The Sam’s Town 300 is set for Saturday, March 5 and the Kobalt Tools 400 will run on Sunday, March 6. Two nights of World of Outlaws Sprint Car racing will take place on the dirt track March 2 and 3. Tickets for all of these events are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling 1-800-644-4444.(LVMS)(1-14-2011)

  • Construction Begins on World's Largest HD Video Board at CMS: Construction crews using dump trucks and excavators have begun preparations for the debut of the world's largest HD video board at Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 May race events. Crews from Granite Contracting, of Concord, N.C., are using the heavy earth-moving equipment this week for the initial grading on the backstretch near Gate 25 where the gigantic, nearly 16,000-square-foot board will be located.
    Designed and created by Panasonic, the approximately 200-foot-wide and 80-foot-tall screen will be centered along the backstretch between Turns 2 and 3, across from the start/finish line. Fans seated throughout the frontstretch from Turn 4 to Turn 1 will have clear viewing angles of instant replays, leaderboard updates and interactive entertainment displayed in 720P high-definition visuals. The screen will be illuminated by more than nine million LED lamps during each NASCAR race event at Charlotte Motor Speedway this spring, including the May 21 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600.
    To prepare the base of the construction site, approximately 18,000 cubic yards of dirt and 3,000 cubic yards of concrete will be removed during the month of January to bring the current grade down to the track wall level. The concrete will be removed during demolition of bleachers that were part of the speedway's original construction in 1960. Later this month, site work will include drilling 12 holes more than 50 feet deep for the installation of concrete piers to support the massive 165,000-pound structure.(images and ticket info at the CMS site)(1-14-2011)


    News from January 13, 2011

  • Trinity Capital group taking over at NASCAR Plaza tower: Charlotte-based Trinity Capital has teamed with a Philadelphia real estate investment firm to buy the NASCAR Plaza office tower, which had fallen into foreclosure after a loan default by its previous owner. Trinity and partner Rubenstein Partners have purchased the 19-story, 390,000-square-foot building at South Caldwell and East Stonewall streets.(Charlotte Business Journal)(1-13-2011)

  • Advanced Fluids and NASCAR lawsuit: Advanced Fluids Solutions, wanted to market its new EXP4 fuel and oil performance additive through the "NASCAR Performance" program, it had agreed to pay $6.295 million over seven years, according to the contract that is now part of a lawsuit between Advanced Fluids and NASCAR. The lawsuit originally was filed last month in Volusia County Circuit Court, and NASCAR had the case moved Friday to United States District Court in Orlando. The program was scheduled to start in 2010 but never began because Advanced Fluids, according to its lawsuit complaint, had not paid its original $500,000 payment due at the execution of the contract in October 2009, and NASCAR terminated the deal in December 2009. Advanced Fluids alleges in its complaint that NASCAR illegally terminated the agreement because NASCAR did not give proper written notice that Advanced Fluids was in default and continued to talk to the company during the time it was trying to get the funding finalized. The company is asking for its sponsorship with NASCAR to be reinstated. NASCAR denies the claims and has filed a motion to dismiss the case.(Sporting News)(1-13-2011)

  • Cuts help NASCAR hall trim loss: The NASCAR Hall of Fame narrowed its loss for November, with a deficit of $100,801 for the month thanks to aggressive cost-cutting. Attendance for the month was 18,585, which includes a large crowd of 2,000 for the day after Thanksgiving. That was the second-smallest monthly crowd since the city of Charlotte-owned hall opened in May, but the hall's new austerity measures appear to be in place. The hall had $602,550 in revenue compared with $703,351 in expenses for the month. In previous months, the hall had been spending between $800,000 and $850,000 in expenses. The hall's loss for the first five months of fiscal year is $509,703. The hall had budgeted a $1.1 million surplus by this point. In an effort to generate excitement, the hall is holding a free open house week this week. From 4 to 6 p.m., through Friday, visitors can see the hall for free. They can see all exhibits, though some electronic exhibits require a smart card, which requires a paid ticket. Hall spokesperson Kimberly Meesters said the response has been "fantastic," with more than 4,000 visitors in the first two days of the open house. The snow canceled the open house Monday and Tuesday. In a revised budget, the hall is now projecting a loss of $1.29 million for the fiscal year, which ends in June. The loss will be covered by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority's $3.4 million reserve fund, and city officials have said no general fund tax dollars will be used for the hall. The general fund pays for police, fire and other essential services.(Charlotte Observer)(1-13-2011)

  • NASCAR goes to smaller plate at Daytona: NASCAR reportedly will down-size restrictor plate holes for next week's Sprint Cup Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway. The new size will be 29/32 of an inch. The old size was 30/32 of an inch. The result will be less power and, presumably, slower speeds. The track surface at Daytona was repaved since last year's summer race. In earlier tests [January], the new surface, which is smoother and stickier, produced higher speeds [197mph].(RaceToday)(1-13-2011)

  • Todd Bodine to run three races at Daytona: Todd Bodine will compete in all three NASCAR divisions in next month's Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Bodine will race his championship-winning #30 in the Feb. 18 Truck race; the Nationwide [#15] car, which is locked into the field for the Feb. 19 season opener thanks to Michael Annett's 14th-place finish in the 2010 owners' points; and owner Larry Gunselman's #64, which has a technical alliance with the Germains, in the qualifying rounds for the 53rd Daytona 500. Bodine will spend the first day of next week's three-day Sprint Cup test at Daytona. Bodine said there was sponsorship in place for all three programs, which has yet to be announced. Bodine tested with Gunselman's team for two days last month at Goodyear's tire test and said "we're going to race the whole race."(NASCAR.com)(1-13-2011)

  • More on Wood Brothers plans: #21-Wood Brothers Racing will compete in 17 races in 2011 – four more than it did in 2010 – and hopes to start the year with Trevor Bayne behind the wheel. Team co-owner Eddie Wood said Tuesday that he has no driver deals signed for 2011 and only confirmed Bayne for the test at Daytona, but it appears the team is working on several more races for the 19-year-old and he possibly will be its primary driver for the season. The organization is working on running the first five races in 2011 but even if it didn't run each of those five, its 2011 schedule will include 17 races. "The things that are in place is we're going to try to run the first five races and pending additional funding, run more races – we are up to 17 races either way," Wood said. "We're working on putting a deal together for Bayne. We're going to be using Roush [Fenway] equipment and Roush engineering. That's one big change we'll have rather than doing it ourselves."(SceneDaily)(1-13-2011)

  • Intimidator Camaro to be produced: Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet announced the production of the 2011 Intimidator Camaro. Three different Dale Earnhardt cosmetic/performance packages will be available on most new vehicles. Also, in a collaboration with Kerry Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet will be producing a history making truck series under the Kerry Earnhardt name. More info at earnhardtautomotive.com.(1-13-2011)

  • Martinsville Moves Goody's 500 Qualifying To Saturday: Qualifying for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway will be held on Saturday, April 2. Traditionally Sprint Cup qualifying has been on Friday at Martinsville Speedway. Time trials for the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will also be on Saturday, April 2. Friday will remain a key part of race weekends at Martinsville Speedway, with practice sessions for both the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series set for April 1. Between the two divisions, there will be almost six hours of practice on Friday.
    Qualifying for the Kroger 250 on April 2 will be at 10:35 in the morning with Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 qualifying scheduled for 12:10 pm. The Kroger 250 will take the green flag at 2 pm. On track action at Martinsville Speedway will kick off on Friday, April 1 with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at 11 am followed by a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice session at noon. The final Truck Series practice is scheduled for 2 pm with the Sprint Cup final practice at 3:30 pm. Tickets for the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 weekend are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(1-13-2011)

  • LVMS to hold open auditions to determine national anthem singer: For the third consecutive year, one aspiring singer will get the opportunity of a lifetime before the start of the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Race sponsor Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall KVVU-FOX5 and LVMS are staging an open audition called Speedway Superstar to find a singer to perform the national anthem prior to the March 5 NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the speedway. The first audition will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 5 at Sam's Town on Boulder Highway. All performers must sing the national anthem a cappella. The top 25 singers chosen will advance to the next round of competition on Saturday, Feb. 12. On that day, the winner will be announced. The Feb. 5 auditions will begin at 10 a.m. Registration will open at 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to audition must arrive at Sam's Town before noon on Feb. 5. The first 150 applicants are guaranteed an audition. For more information go to lvms.com.(LVMS)(1-13-2011)


    News from January 12, 2011

  • MWR owners to race in Dubai 24 Hour sports car race: Michael Waltrip Racing [#00 & #56 Toyota's] owners Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman are teaming up again to race in the sixth-annual Dubai 24 Hour sports car race at the ultra-modern Dubai Autodrome on Friday [Jan 14]. The event marks the first international motor race of 2011. Two-time Daytona 500 champion Waltrip and Kauffman will drive one of 90 entrants in the race that features nearly every sports car manufacturer. Waltrip and Kauffman will join co-drivers Rui Aguas and Matt Griffin behind the wheel of the Ferrari F430 GT2 of the AF Corse team. Waltrip and Kauffman raced this car in Dubai last year and in Belgium where they scored an impressive third-place finish on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit. NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Bobby Labonte and David Reutimann joined Waltrip and Kauffman at a Dec. 18-21 test session in Portugal where the AF Corse team prepared for Dubai.(MWR)(1-12-2011)

  • TRG's owner elected to Road Racing Drivers Club: TRG Motorsports owner/driver [#71 Chevy Sprint Cup Series] Kevin Buckler has been elected to the prestigious Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC). The 58-year-old organization headed by Bobby Rahal holds a roster of over 350 distinguished members from the worldwide motorsports community. Kevin Buckler Buckler's resume includes championships behind the wheel as well as on the pit box. Prominent in his trophy case as a driver are three Rolex Series Daytona 24 Hour wins in 2002 and 2003, the last was an overall victory in a GT class car. The third win in 2009 was as a team owner. In addition, in 2002 he won the GT category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in that same year he also won the prestigious Porsche World Cup as the most successful Porsche driver of that year. On the pit box his sports car team won two back-to-back Rolex Series GT championships in 2005 and 2006 and holds the Grand-Am win record with 31. As a team owner he expanded his racing footprint in 2007 by adding a Camping World Truck Series team and made the ultimate jump in 2009 with the addition of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. By a vote of its current members in 2010, the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) elects a small and distinguished group of drivers and supporters of the sport to membership in the 58-year-old organization. This year's list includes the likes of Chip Ganassi and Arie Luyendyk.(TRG Motorsports)(1-12-2011)

  • Brian Keselowski plans to run for Rookie of the Year: been told that #92-Brian Keselowski and his team are working on cars to run Sprint Cup for 2011 that Keselowski plans to run for Rookie of the Year. The team has recently acquired three Penske Dodges to go along with their current fleet of former Gillette/Evernham cars.(1-12-2011)

  • NASCAR Foundation Contributes $3.3 Million: In 2010, The NASCAR Foundation contributed more than $3.3 million in charitable support to nonprofit organizations nationwide and united more than 250,000 fans in support of children’s charities across the United States. More info at nascar.com/foundation.(1-12-2011)

  • Sad News - Warren Ruffner: Warren C. Ruffner, Spring Township, died Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in his residence under hospice care. He was the husband of Joanne (Weir) Ruffner. Warren was the sales manager for WHUM Radio in Reading. He was known as the voice of the Reading Stock Car Association and announced races at the Reading Fairgrounds and at tracks from Canada to Florida. He worked in real estate at Wertz Hoffman Parks and last worked at Berkshire GMAC Realtors before retiring in 2005. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Ignatius Loyola RC Church.(full obit & services at the Reading Eagle)(1-12-2011)

  • Special 48 hour tickets at PIR to honor Johnson: Phoenix International Raceway will kick off the 2011 NASCAR season by honoring five-time defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson – driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy – with a special #48-themed ticket offer for February’s SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500. The ‘48-Hour Special’ will offer fans a unique discounted opportunity to take in NASCAR Sprint Cup action at PIR on February 27. Beginning at noon today, January 12, and ending at noon on January 14, race fans can purchase a regularly-priced $90 ticket to the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ for just $48. This ticket, located in the Upper AJ Foyt Grandstand, offers a full view of PIR’s one-mile oval and pit road. ‘48-hour Special’ tickets will be available at PhoenixRaceway.com/Jimmie-Johnson or by calling 866-408-RACE beginning at noon Arizona time today, January 12, and ending at noon on January 14.(Phoenix Raceway)(1-12-2011)

  • Kentucky Speedway Individual tickets on sale: Individual tickets for Kentucky Speedway’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400-mile event and the track’s five additional 2011 races have been placed on sale. Reserved Sprint Cup Series tickets are available on six price levels ranging from $70 to $110 depending on seat location. More info about tickets at kentuckyspeedway.com or call at (888) 652-7223.(Kentucky Speedway)(1-12-2011)


    News from January 11, 2011

  • Furniture Row aligns w/Stewart-Haas Racing for pit crew: Regan Smith's #78 over-the-wall pit crew for Furniture Row Racing will be employed and trained by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) during the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. "We are excited to partner with SHR as it relates to the pit crew," said Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing general manager. "After reviewing SHR's program, personnel and facility we are confident that SHR will deliver a crew that meets all of our objectives." The #78 pit crew will be under the supervision of SHR pit crew coach Joe Piette, who also oversees the pit crews for Tony Stewart's #14 team and Ryan Newman's #39 team. The SHR team is based in Kannapolis, N.C. “We are very excited about our new partnership with Furniture Row Racing and having the opportunity to help contribute to the growth of their program, while also giving our pit crew the chance to compete and improve on a weekly basis,” said Bobby Hutchens, director of competition, Stewart-Haas Racing. The first race for the new Furniture Row Racing pit crew will be the invitational Budweiser Shootout, Feb. 12 at Daytona International Speedway. Smith qualified for the non-points race on the basis of being a former NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie of the year (2008). The first Sprint Cup points race is the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20.(Furniture Row Racing)(1-11-2011)

  • No sponsor for Rookie of the Year award: Many reports have long-time sponsor Raybestos having dropped its backing / sponsorship of NASCAR's Rookie of the Year programs in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. In Sprint Cup, only one rookie driver [Kevin Conway] ran the majority of the races in 2010 and no driver is scheduled to run the full Sprint Cup Series in 2011 as a rookie.(1-11-2011)

  • Motorsports Hall of Fame announces 2011 Inductees: Racing legends Donnie Allison, Sid Collins, Roger McCluskey, Ed McCulloch, Augie Pabst, Bruce Penhall and Ed Winfield will be enshrined into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America when the organization stages its annual induction celebration on August 23 and 24, 2011 in Detroit. 2011 MSHFA Inductee Donnie AllisonDonnie Allison, a member of the famed "Alabama Gang," compiled nearly 400 short track victories before joining the NASCAR Cup circuit in 1968. He won 10 Cup races and captured 17 pole positions. In 1970, he scored three wins and had 10 top five finishes. Allison, who earned the Rookie of the Year title in the 1970 Indy 500, will join his brother Bobby in the Hall of Fame.(Motorsports HoF)(1-11-2011)

  • Vickers testing in Orlando UPDATE: Brian Vickers, who was forced to take a medical leave of absence from the Sprint Cup Series last spring, planned to make his first laps in one of his Red Bull Racing Team stock cars Monday at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, FL. Vickers posted on his Twitter feed, "Just got to Walt Disney World Speedway. Going to make the first laps of 2011 this afternoon -- Can't wait!" And just after 12:30 pm, apparently after making his first run, Vickers posted, "Damn that felt good. Everything fits just like I left it." Red Bull officials were not immediately available for comment about the test on the oddly-shaped one-mile oval that was used in the late 1990s for a couple Truck Series races, along with IndyCar Series events.(NASCAR.com)(1-10-2011)
    UPDATE: Brian Vickers on his first day back in the #83 - from a testing session in Orlando, FL, 1.10.11: "Today was just a huge weight off of my shoulders. Not only for myself, but for the guys on the team. There were so many rumors, assumptions and speculations about my health and status for 2011, but today hopefully put all of them to rest. It felt damn good to get back in the car. Everything fit. Everything felt right. Everything was just the way I left it last May. Just to fire the car back up was awesome, and then to punch it for the first time was such a great feeling. We are here to get more seat time for me and so I can back in groove with the road crew. I don’t think we are going to learn anything ground-breaking today, but it's really just a great chance for us all to work together, and the bottom line for me is just to get back in a race car and log some laps."(Red Bull Racing)(1-11-2011)

  • Bayne could run some races for Wood Brothers UPDATE2: The #21 Wood Brothers operation is hard at work in hopes of upping its Sprint Cup schedule to as many as 17 races in 2011. Trevor Bayne, who made his Sprint Cup debut for the team last November in Texas, could add the Wood Brothers effort to his Roush Nationwide Series schedule if sponsorship comes together. Veteran and former Cup champ Bill Elliott is also said to be in the picture for the team as well.(Motor Racing Network)(1-6-2011)
    UPDATE: Trevor Bayne will drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. Currently, Bayne is scheduled to run the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races of the season. The balance of Bayne’s race plans has not been finalized.(Fox Sports)(1-8-2011)
    UPDATE: Trevor Bayne, 19, is expected to run 17 races for the Wood Brothers. While there was no room in the Roush Fenway Racing lineup, Bayne could very easily become the future of that company. He is NASCAR’s version of a true freshman. Bayne has exhibited potential in the Nationwide Series (where he will continue to run under the Roush banner) to the point that Roush and Ford wanted to see what the youngster was capable of achieving at the Cup level.(FoxSports)
    AND Bayne is slated to run a full NWS campaign for Roush this season and after making his Sprint Cup debut for the legendary Wood Brothers team last November in Texas could add more than a few more starts in NASCAR's top division to his schedule. Bayne will run the first five races of the Cup season in the Wood's iconic #21 Ford including the Daytona 500 and pending sponsorship may make up to 17 starts for the team. "It's all about whether we can get the right funding or not, but I'm certainly grateful for the opportunity," said Bayne. "Running the new Nationwide car, which is a lot more like the Cup car, is going to help me a ton, that's for sure. I'm hoping it all comes together and I know it'll be a busy year for me but I'm ready." Team owner Eddie Wood said negotiations with several sponsors continue and he's hopeful an expanded schedule for 2011 will come together.(CBS Sports)(1-11-2011)

  • Sad News - Dick Trajnowski: Dick Trajnowski, who spent more than 30 years covering sports for the Jackson Citizen Patriot [Michigan], died Saturday night [Jan 8th] at Allegiance Hospital after suffering a stroke earlier in the evening. He was 74. Trajnowski won several state and national awards for sports writing. He covered every race weekend at Michigan International Speedway from the track in 1968, including the ground-breaking for the track’s construction, through his retirement in 1997. He also co-authored a book in [40 Years of Champions] 2008 produced by the Citizen Patriot chronicling the top drivers from the first 40 years of the speedway’s history. Following Trajnowski's retirement from the Citizen Patriot, he continued to cover sports part-time for the paper, and he also worked for a short time at MIS on race weekends. “Dick was one of those old-timers who really had a lot of integrity, knew his sports and just did a great job for us,” said Citizen Patriot Publisher Sandy Petykiewicz. “He was a great person, gentle, kind, and still capable of doing the tough job.” In addition to his role covering the high school, auto racing and the sports personalities of Jackson, Trajnowski wrote a weekly column called the “Grapevine,” which allowed him to celebrate accomplishments and milestones of people throughout the Jackson area. Trajnowski, named Auto Racing Writer of the Year by the Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club in 1980, covered 19 Indianapolis 500s. He also covered NASCAR races for the Citizen Patriot at nine tracks around the country, including Daytona International Speedway on several occasions. Trajnowski is survived by his wife, Marilee, of 48 years; three children, Martha, Marcia and David; and three grandchildren. A memorial Mass is scheduled for 10:30 am Wednesday at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 120 E. Wesley St.(Jackson Citizen Patriot and obit at Michigan Live)(1-11-2011)

  • NASCAR HoF closed Tuesday: Due to hazardous conditions around the entry of the facility, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be closed to the public Tuesday, Jan. 11. At this time the facility is scheduled to operate normal business hours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12. However, all hours are subject to change based on weather and road conditions. The ticker on the center of the front page of NASCARHall.com is the best source for updates. NASCAR Hall of Fame corporate offices remain open.(NASCAR HoF)(1-11-2011)

  • Drivers must choose which series to run for championship: Drivers in NASCAR's three national series will have to elect a single championship to chase in 2011, eliminating the ability of drivers such as Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Paul Menard -- who were full-time double-dippers in 2010 -- to chase two championships at once. NASCAR has scheduled a "competition update" on Jan. 21 with NASCAR president Mike Helton and vice president for competition Robin Pemberton as part of the "Preseason Thunder" Sprint Cup test session at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp declined to comment on the change in 2011 license applications Monday except to say, "I'm sure we can answer all your questions at our competition update." But when Kenny Wallace picked up his 2011 NASCAR competition, membership and license application last Saturday while taking a break from a Grand-Am Rolex Series test at Daytona, he knew at least one rumor was true. Wallace stopped on his way to the U.S. Post Office on Monday to tear open his license application and read the news. "The brand-new license forms that are out, there's a box and in it, it states that you have to mark -- put an X -- what championship you're running for," Wallace said, quoting his application. "A driver will only be permitted to earn driver championship points in one (1) of the following three series: NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Please select the series in which you would like to accumulate driver championship points. Choose one."(NASCAR.com)(1-11-2011)

  • France, teams to meet in coming weeks: NASCAR executives, including chairman Brian France, will meet with team owners, drivers and key team officials over the next several weeks to talk about significant issues facing the sport. The meetings will be done by team organization instead of during one big meeting with all Cup or Nationwide teams, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed. Over the past couple of years, NASCAR has increased its use of “town hall” style meetings to discuss potential changes to the sport. Last year, it opted for smaller team forums by meeting separately with each organization. The meetings are designed to get feedback and help NASCAR officials make decisions. “The old theory was that when you’re at the races with them all the time, we had the communication lines wide open,” France said about the team forums last January. “That’s true, but it’s too busy now to assume that we can have all the communications and get all the issues they want to get resolved with us at the track. So we just changed it around where we’re having these meetings. … In the town hall meetings, a lot of people didn’t want to speak up when there were 12 other drivers or something like that and they didn’t feel comfortable.” NASCAR typically does not make public what it plans to discuss with the teams. But last summer, executives of several teams met separately from NASCAR to talk about potential solutions to cost containment issues such as the number of people that travel on race weekends and the current ban on testing at tracks that have NASCAR national touring series events.(Sporting News)(1-11-2011)

  • Auto Club 500 becomes Auto Club 400: NASCAR continues to listen and respond to its fans and as a result, they will be the beneficiary of more exciting NASCAR Sprint Cup racing when it comes to Southern California in March. Changing the mileage from 500 to 400 for Auto Club Speedway’s October event along with double file restarts resulted in an action-packed three hours that media, drivers and fans called “the best race ever at Auto Club Speedway.” With that feedback, ACS officials announced today that the Auto Club 500 will now be the Auto Club 400. The race will take place on Sunday, March 27. In response to the mileage change and the excitement that it likely will produce, Auto Club Speedway is offering several ways to see the 5-wide excitement of NASCAR at Southern California’s premier motorsports facility. For tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit autoclubspeedway.com for more information.(ACS)(1-11-2011)

  • Richmond Grandstands Going Smoke-Free: Richmond International Raceway president Doug Fritz announced that Richmond International Raceway’s grandstands will be smoke-free beginning this season. Fans who smoke may continue to do so, but in approved areas only. The new policy is in response to fan feedback. “Beginning this season, smoking will not be permitted in and in front of the grandstands or in portals leading to seating areas,” said Fritz. “Additionally, restrooms, buildings and areas that were already smoke-free at Richmond International Raceway will continue to be smoke-free,” said Fritz. “We are implementing this policy based on comments received from fans. Those who wish to smoke may continue to do so in designated areas.” Grandstand ushers will monitor seating areas to ensure the grandstands remain smoke-free at America’s Premier Short Track. Fans can notify an usher or use our text messaging service if they wish to report a violation of the non-smoking policy. Tickets for the Spring NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend at Richmond International Raceway go on sale this Friday [Jan 14] at 8:30 am. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections on Thursday and Friday. For tickets and additional information, go to rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223).(RIR)(1-11-2011)

  • Auto Club Speedway Celebrates ‘Nothing Day’, ‘Extraterrestrial Abduction Day’: In the past, Auto Club Speedway has given race fans who purchased tickets on “Ticket Tuesdays” such goodies as zucchinis, pirate hats and pizzas – all in an effort to help celebrate “National Days” like ‘Sneak a Zucchini onto Your Neighbors Porch Day’, ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ and ‘National Pizza with Everything (Except Anchovies) Day.’
    Some have deemed our promotion ‘dumb’ (and that’s putting it nicely). So for all those who have that kind of attitude, purchase a $35 ticket any Tuesday in January and help us celebrate “National Nothing Day” on January 16th by getting NOTHING (except of course the ticket you purchase). That’s right, buy a ticket to the March 27th Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway and get no cupcakes, no tacos, no ice cream. You’ll get NOTHING and like it. More info and ticket packages starting as low as $35 visit autoclubspeedway.com or call 800-944-RACE (7223).(Auto Club Speedway)(1-11-2011)

  • Track Pass at Infineon Raceway: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a heart-pounding hot lap around the legendary Infineon Raceway road course at speeds topping 100 mph? Or, maybe you'd like to walk the pits at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend and stand on-track during pre-event ceremonies as star drivers like Vallejo’s Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are introduced? If all-access and value is what you’re looking for, then Infineon Raceway’s 2011 Track Pass is the ticket package for you. The Track Pass is valued at more than $850, but the raceway is selling them for just $399 each. For more info and extra benefits contact the Infineon Raceway Ticket Office at 800-870-RACE (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(1-11-2011)


    News from January 10, 2011

  • NASCAR Reinstates Paul Chodora: NASCAR has reinstated crew member Paul Chodora upon his successful completion of NASCAR’s Road to Recovery Program following his Feb. 19, 2009 suspension for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.(NASCAR)(1-10-2011)

  • Sad News - June J. Schrader Cox: Cox, June J. Schrader (nee Parsons), passed away, Sat., Jan. 8, 2011. Beloved wife of William Bill Cox and the late Bill Schrader; dear stepmother of William (Judy) Schrader; dear mother of [NASCAR driver] Ken (Ann) Schrader and Sharon (Pat) Walsh. More info on services and a guest book at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.(1-10-2011)

  • Snow cancels NASCAR HoF open house Monday: Due to inclement weather and poor road conditions, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will close at 4:00 pm Monday, Jan. 10 and reopen at noon Tuesday, Jan. 11 (a two-hour delay Tuesday). The Open House is canceled for Monday but is still on schedule for the remainder of the week (4-6 p.m. Tuesday – Friday). All hours are subject to change based on weather and road conditions. The ticker on the center of the front page of NASCARHall.com is the best source for updates.(NASCAR HoF)(1-10-2011)

  • NASCAR promotes Jim O'Connell: As its corporate marketing division continues to set new standards for creativity and client service in a sport with the most active sponsorship, NASCAR announced that Vice President Jim O’Connell has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer. The promotion is effective immediately. Despite the prolonged recessionary environment, in 2010, O’Connell’s team renewed 75% of its partner agreements and increased NASCAR official partner revenue 10 percent. Two new partner categories were created: cause-related marketing with DRIVE4COPD becoming the official healthcare initiative of NASCAR, and “Green,” highlighted by a landmark sponsorship agreement with American Ethanol led by Growth Energy, the largest NASCAR sponsorship since Sprint entered the sport in 2004. O’Connell joined NASCAR in 2006 as Vice President of Corporate Marketing, overseeing the division of NASCAR that attracts and maintains corporate interest in the sport. His new title will be Vice President and Chief Sales Officer.With the largest events drawing the most loyal, sponsor-conscious fans in sports, NASCAR has relationships with more major corporations than any other sport.(NASCAR)(1-10-2011)

  • Milka Duno to run ARCA race at Daytona: Sheltra Motorsports, the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s Champion, has signed Milka Duno to run the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Duno, a driver in the IndyCar Series, will begin her foray with Sheltra Motorsports piloting the #63 Dodge Charger at the newly-repaved Daytona International Speedway for three days of ARCA Racing Series testing January 11-13. Champion crew chief, Jon Wolfe, will work with Duno throughout the test session to get her comfortable, fast and ready for the ARCA Racing Series season opener at DIS on February 12th. “I’m very excited and grateful for this opportunity to test with the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s Championship winning team,” said Duno. “Patrick, Jon and Brandon head a very skilled and dedicated organization and having met with them and visited their facility it is easy to see why they are the 2010 champions!” Additional information about Milka Duno’s 2011 season will also become available in the next several weeks.(Sheltra Motorsports)(1-10-2011)

  • O'Reilly Raceway Park now known as Lucas Oil Raceway: Lucas Oil Products has expanded its visibility at Indianapolis-area sports sites, adding naming rights to a motor sports facility to go with a football stadium. Forrest Lucas' company acquired rights to O'Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont. It's now known as Lucas Oil Raceway. Lucas secured the rights to Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts, in 2008. Built as Indianapolis Raceway Park six decades ago, the facility is home to drag racing's most prestigious event, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, held Labor Day weekend. The oval track on the property has NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races in July and an assortment of U.S. Auto Club and ARCA races. Terms of Lucas' multiyear contract with NHRA, which owns the facility, were not revealed. In the stadium deal, Lucas agreed to pay $120 million over 20 years. Lucas, a former truck driver, founded the company, which produces premium lines of oils, greases and automotive additives, in 1989. It is based in Corona, Calif., with a bottling facility in Corydon, Ind. In addition to sponsoring traditional race cars, Lucas Oil is involved in seemingly everything in motor racing, from boats to motorcycles to monster trucks and tractor pulls. Its other racetracks are in Wheatland, Mo., and Blythe, Calif. In 2010, Lucas and his wife, Charlotte, purchased the Hilbert mansion in Carmel for $3 million.(Indianapolis Star)(1-10-2010)

  • Racetrack at Nashville fairgrounds awaits its fate: A critical vote will decide whether Nashville [TN] keeps its historic racetrack or demolishes it to make way for development. Although Mayor Karl Dean is delaying plans to relocate other events held at the city's fairgrounds, he supports tearing down the racetrack in favor of a public park. Murky finances and unstable operations have plagued the Nashville Speedway for decades, but the issue of whether the track should stay open could be decided in 2011. Metro Council is considering a bill that, among other things, would clear the racetrack for a 40-acre park. The legislation is up for a public hearing and its second vote on Jan. 18. Demolishing the racetrack is the next step in Dean's plans to redevelop the 117-acre fairgrounds property. Dean backtracked on his proposal to move the flea market and expo center to Hickory Hollow Mall but wants to move forward with tearing down the racetrack. Racing fans started a petition drive to save the track last year through Metro Councilman Duane Dominy, who collected more than 40,000 signatures. Current operator Tony Formosa, whose four decades at the Nashville Speedway include time as a driver, pit crew manager and promoter, said he believes the track is viable if an operator were to be given at least a 10-year lease. Formosa said the track's long history and prime location in a major media market make it a desirable location. Only five races were held at the track in 2010, but Formosa said attendance averaged 6,500 people. There may not be a 14-acre stretch of land in the entire country with more racing history than the Nashville Speedway. Stock car legends such as Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip cut their teeth there, and generations of auto racing fans grew up attending races at the fairgrounds. In 1958, the Nashville Speedway hosted its first NASCAR event, and Music City remained a stop on the top stock car tour until 1984. That's when financial problems for the track operator at the time caused NASCAR to pull out. When other cities built new tracks to attract major NASCAR races, Nashville's future as a racing city was jeopardized. Some second-tier professional racing continued at the track until 2000, when the Nashville Superspeedway opened in Wilson County and NASCAR took its races there. Since that time, the fairgrounds racetrack has hosted amateur races.(Tennessean)(1-10-2010)


    News from January 9, 2011

  • Allmendigner, McDowell team up for Rolex 24: Fully committed to earning the best possible result in the team's eighth consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona, Michael Shank Racing will stage the strongest campaign in team history with three Daytona Prototype entries for the 49th running of the endurance classic on Jan. 29-30. On Friday, team owner Mike Shank announced the driver lineup for the third entry, with the #6 Ford-Dallara being driven Sprint Cup Series drivers A.J. Allmendinger and Michael McDowell and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson. The 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark Allmendinger's sixth attempt in the Rolex 24. McDowell has Grand-Am experience stretching back to 2004, as the Phoenix native broke through for his first Daytona Prototype victory one year later in Mexico City.(Michael Shank Racing PR)(1-9-2011)

  • J.C. France back on track: The Grand-Am Road Racing community welcomed J.C. France back with open arms on the first day of testing for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona. France, out of pro racing for more than a year after charges of drug possession and street racing in 2009 that were later dismissed, is one of five drivers assigned to the #9 Action Express Porsche Riley Daytona Prototype owned by Bob Johnson. France, grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., was suspended from Grand-Am competition only days before the 2009 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 45-year-old driver was arrested by Daytona Beach police that October on a variety of charges ranging from street racing, DUI and possession of crack cocaine. The case was dismissed based on a technicality introduced by France's defense team. Daytona Beach police witnessed France run a red light in Holly Hill, a different municipality. Between his arrest and dismissal of the case, France underwent rehabilitation and drug testing required by Grand-Am, which is owned by NASCAR. Once cleared of charges, he was immediately reinstated by Grand-Am.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-9-2011)


    News from January 8, 2011

  • Bayne could run some races for Wood Brothers: UPDATE: The #21 Wood Brothers operation is hard at work in hopes of upping its Sprint Cup schedule to as many as 17 races in 2011. Trevor Bayne, who made his Sprint Cup debut for the team last November in Texas, could add the Wood Brothers effort to his Roush Nationwide Series schedule if sponsorship comes together. Veteran and former Cup champ Bill Elliott is also said to be in the picture for the team as well.(Motor Racing Network)(1-6-2011)
    UPDATE: Trevor Bayne will drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. Currently, Bayne is scheduled to run the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races of the season. The balance of Bayne’s race plans has not been finalized.(Fox Sports)(1-8-2011)

  • Robby Gordon to compete for SCORE Championship: Given his early departure from the Dakar Rally, Robby Gordon now intends to participate in the 2011 SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge next weekend, as well as compete for the 2011 SCORE Championship title.(Speed Energy)(1-8-2011)

  • Johnson to visit Phoenix for ticket deal: Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson will visit the Valley of the Sun on Jan. 12 to celebrate the start of the 2011 NASCAR season with local fans from Phoenix International Raceway. Johnson - driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy - will participate in a one-of-a-kind fan event at Casino Arizona's Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale and will help PIR unveil a 48-hour ticket special for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ at PIR on Feb. 27. The '48-hour Special' will offer fans a unique discounted opportunity to take in Sprint Cup action at PIR this February. Beginning at noon on January 12 and ending at noon on January 14, race fans can purchase a regularly-priced $90 ticket to the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 for just $48. This ticket, located in the Upper AJ Foyt Grandstand, offers a full view of PIR's one-mile oval and pit road. '48-hour Special' tickets will be available at PhoenixRaceway.com/Jimmie-Johnson at noon on January 12. Tickets to the February 24-27 SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ event weekend are available now, with prices starting at just $25. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit http://phoenixraceway.com or call 866-408-RACE (7223).(PIR)(1-8-2011)


    News from January 7, 2011

  • Past rookies added to Bud Shootout: With a strong lineup that features former Sprint Cup Series champions, last year's Chase field, a host of former outstanding rookies, along with a collection of previous winners at the sport's most storied race track, NASCAR announced the list of eligible competitors for the 2011 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The 33rd annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway with the green flag set for 8:10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. FOX and MRN will broadcast live nationally. It marks the first Cup event held on the track's newly repaved surface. The field is set by the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having competed in Cup within the past two seasons:
    * The 12 drivers who qualified for the 2010 Chase
    * Past Cup champions
    * Past Budweiser Shootout champions
    * Past Daytona points race winners
    * Cup rookie of the year drivers from 2001-10
    The race distance will again be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments -- 25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to pit to change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear ends will not be permitted. Starting positions will again be determined by a blind draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 11 on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4.(NASCAR)(1-7-2011)

  • Leavine Fenton Racing to debut in Cup & Trucks: Tyler, Texas natives Bob Leavine and Lance Fenton have partnered up to form Leavine Fenton Racing. The team will compete in the Sprint Cup Series as well as the Camping World Truck Series throughout the 2011 season. Leavine Fenton Racing will run Fords from their Concord, N.C. based shop with the help of a driver David Starr and crew chief Wally Rogers. The team number will be #95 in both series. Leavine is the owner of WRL General Contractors, Ltd. and has been involved in racing for many years. WRL General Contractors, Ltd. has been in operation for over 30 years. The company's services include construction of commercial, institutional, and industrial projects by using construction management, competitive bid, or design build delivery methods. Fenton is the owner of Fenton Motor Group in Tyler, Texas and Phoenix Design and Manufacturing, LLC in Oklahoma City, Okla. He has raced and owned race teams since the mid 80's. Last year, he made his debut in the Camping World Truck Series. The cars will be Roush/Yates engines. As of right now they plan to run the following Cup races -- two Charlotte Motor Speedway races, two Texas Motor Speedway races, Kentucky and Chicagoland Speedway.(Leavine Fenton Racing PR)(1-7-2011)

  • Michael Waltrip will run Daytona 500: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Michael Waltrip will compete in the Feb. 20 Daytona 500. "This will be my 25th Daytona 500 in a row," Waltrip said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I think two people have started that many. Richard Petty and Dave Marcis come to mind. Our plan is to race the Budweiser Shootout and 500. I'm looking forward to it." Waltrip won't be here for Cup testing Jan. 20-22 at Daytona International Speedway, but his team will send two stock cars manned by Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-7-2011)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame debuts new exhibit: With the new year beginning, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is set to unveil a new exhibition, "Short Careers, Lasting Legacy" on Saturday, Jan. 8. The debut also kicks off "Open House Week" where guests can visit the entertainment facility for free from Saturday, Jan. 8 - Friday, Jan. 14 between 4 - 6 p.m. "Short Careers, Lasting Legacy" is on exhibit through late June in the Great Hall. It showcases authentic artifacts that tell the story of some of NASCAR's most memorable personalities. The exhibition recognizes individuals who left the sport in their prime or before they reached their full potential. Highlighting the exhibition is Tim Richmond's #25 Folgers Monte Carlo (1987), Alan Kulwicki's #7 Hooters Thunderbird (1992) and Davey Allison's #28 Texaco Thunderbird. Additional artifacts on display commemorate NASCAR contributors Bondy Long, Carl Kiekhaefer, Adam Petty and Billy and Bobby Myers.(Hall of Fame PR)(1-7-2011)

  • Michael Waltrip's Comedy Garage Hitting The Road: Michael Waltrip knows what it is like to perform in front of huge crowds on the NASCAR circuit. But in the next few weeks Waltrip will trade in the steering wheel for a microphone and audience as he takes Michael Waltrip's Comedy Garage on the road. Top flight comedians Henry Cho and John Reep headline a night of standup comedy that includes a routine by Waltrip. Kansas City's Ameristar Casino will host the first Comedy Garage of 2011 on Jan. 21. The show moves to the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor in Ontario, Canada on Jan. 22. The Mirage will host shows on March 4 and 5 in Las Vegas. The Comedy Garage is just one of many endeavors for Waltrip in the coming weeks. He plans to race in the Dubai 24 Hours sports car race with Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman Jan. 13-15. Waltrip's first book "In the Blink of an Eye" marking the tenth anniversary of his 2001 Daytona 500 victory hits the shelves on Feb. 1.(MWR)(1-7-2010)

  • Dover introduces "Dover Insider Tips" series: For first-time fans, a trip to Dover International Speedway can be sensory overload. The full-throttle experience of a race weekend at the Monster Mile can be as intense as the racing on the track. There's so much to see and do from the time fans set foot on the property that they don't always get to take advantage of everything that the venue has to offer. "Dover Insider Tips," a new series on DoverSpeedway.com, will give race fans insider access to new developments at the track, and advice on everything from purchasing tickets, parking, and who to contact at the track if they encounter a problem on race weekend. The idea for the series stems from two fan council meetings in 2010 where two groups of Dover fans met at the track to candidly discuss their experience with Speedway officials. The groups requested more year-round information about the track and more in-depth information about existing programs at the Speedway for fans. Fans can log on to DoverSpeedway.com every Thursday to read about a new topic(Dover PR)(1-7-2011)


    News from January 6, 2011

  • Bayne could run some races for Wood Brothers: The #21 Wood Brothers operation is hard at work in hopes of upping its Sprint Cup schedule to as many as 17 races in 2011. Trevor Bayne, who made his Sprint Cup debut for the team last November in Texas, could add the Wood Brothers effort to his Roush Nationwide Series schedule if sponsorship comes together. Veteran and former Cup champ Bill Elliott is also said to be in the picture for the team as well.(Motor Racing Network)(1-6-2011)

  • Danica has no current plans for Cup: In Mobile, Alabama for the GoDaddy.com Bowl, Danica Patrick was asked if there was a time line for her to be in Sprint Cup racing: "Unless I plan on doing NASCAR there is less of a point of doing Cup. I have a long way to go to establish whether or not if this (NASCAR) is what I want to do. I suppose at some point in time I'll have to choose but I don't have to yet." Patrick will perform the coin toss duties at the beginning of the GoDaddy.com Bowl Thursday.(Inside Alabama Racing)(1-6-2011)

  • Bank halts foreclosure of NASCAR Plaza: Wells Fargo & Co. has stopped foreclosing on the NASCAR Plaza office tower in uptown Charlotte. The lender started foreclosure proceedings in November after being sued by its co-lender, Regions Bank, which claimed Wells "failed and refused to take timely action to collect" on the loan after the tower's developers stopped paying on the loan in December 2009. A foreclosure hearing had been scheduled for Nov. 30 and then rescheduled for Jan. 5 so the parties could continue negotiations, according to court filings. The case was voluntary dismissed without prejudice by the lender Dec. 31. Wells declined to comment.(Charlotte Observer)(1-6-2011)

  • Texas unveils tailgating park: Texas Motor Speedway announced plans for the most distinctive and exclusive tailgating area in motorsports with the addition of Pit Stop Park to its wide array of fan amenities at the world-class racing venue. Pit Stop Park will encompass a huge tract of parking area larger than the size of an NFL football field - 146 yards in length by 53 yards wide - catering to race fans who desire to entertain in the premier tailgating area Texas Motor Speedway offered exclusively for personal vehicles. Pit Stop Park, located less than 100 yards from the speedway's main entrance gate (Gate 4), will be a private tailgate community with various amenities for fans visiting on Texas Motor Speedway's three major race weekends. The gated park will consist of up to 76 reserved tailgating spots and a common area that will be visually striking with lush sod entertainment areas, numerous trees and an expansive flower bed entrance that will landscape the project.(TMS)(1-6-2011)


    News from January 5, 2011

  • Robby Gordon disqualified at Dakar Rally: Robby Gordon had right front wheel bearing issues before the start of the timed special, costing him about 5 hours. He completed the stage, but because he was late to the special, he is disqualified from the rally. The SPEED Energy HUMMER of Eliseo Salazar is still competing in 81st overall position, as is SPEED DEMON motorcycle rider Quinn Cody who is currently in 13th position.(Speed Energy)(1-5-2011)

  • Evernham to consult for Hendrick Companies: Ray Evernham Enterprises (REE) has been retained to consult for the Hendrick Companies, a management company formed in 2005 to oversee strategic initiatives for chairman Rick Hendrick. REE will consult on special projects related to Hendrick's core businesses. In that role, REE's initial focus will be development of the Hendrick Performance retail brand of high-performance parts, vehicles, products and related services. With Hendrick as car owner, Evernham won three NASCAR Cup championships in the 1990s as crew chief for driver Jeff Gordon. He left the Hendrick organization in 1999 to found his own team, Evernham Motorsports, and most recently was a television analyst for ESPN.(Hendrick PR)
    AND: Ray Evernham has reunited with former boss Rick Hendrick in a business deal that will not allow Evernham to remain an analyst for ESPN's NASCAR coverage. "It's no secret that I've missed all the relationships I had at Hendrick," Evernham told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "So being able to go work with Rick and the people I knew at Hendrick Automotive, it's going to be like going back to work in the family business side. "Unfortunately, it could cause a conflict and I don't want to put ESPN or Rick Hendrick or myself in that position. I have had a great relationship with ESPN. If there was any way I could have worked that out I would have loved to do it. That was one of the hardest things about making the decision."(ESPN.com)(1-5-2011)

  • Montoya, McMurray to run Rolex 24: On Tuesday, Grand-Am - and its fans -- got a belated Christmas gift from Chip Ganassi, in the form of a star-studded lineup for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona, one encompassing two cars, eight drivers, three racing disciplines and a return appearance by Jamie McMurray. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, the reigning Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions, will be joined in the #01 Target/Telmex BMW/Riley prototype by Grand-Am veteran Joey Hand and Graham Rahal, the latter recently announced as a new Ganassi driver in the IndyCar Series. In the #02 Telmex/Target BMW/Riley, last year's Daytona team returns intact: McMurray, two-time Rolex 24 champion Juan Pablo Montoya and two IndyCar vets -- two-time series titlist Scott Dixon and the series' reigning champ, Dario Franchitti. Collectively, those two teams have won 12 series championships, eight Rolex 24s, one Daytona 500 and four Indianapolis 500s.(Ganassi PR)(1-5-2011)

  • NASCAR Promotes Davidson: NASCAR announced that Blake Davidson has been promoted to vice president of licensing and consumer products. Davidson, who has been with NASCAR for more than 15 years, is responsible for developing and leading the sanctioning body's entire licensing and merchandising strategy. Davidson manages NASCAR's traditional and non-traditional licensing, which includes NASCAR's publishing, retail and business development efforts, as well as its international merchandising efforts. In 2010, Davidson was instrumental in the creation of the ground-breaking new licensing structure now known as NASCAR Team Properties (NTP). In addition to leading the charge with NASCAR's 200-plus licensees, Davidson has also played an important role with the creation and the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(NASCAR)(1-5-2011)

  • Steiner leaves DEI: Jeff Steiner, who had been executive vice president and general manager of Dale Earnhardt Inc. since April 2009, has left the organization to pursue other opportunities, Steiner and the organization confirmed. DEI has not named a replacement.(Scene Daily)(1-5-2011)

  • Paddock named president of Chicagoland: International Speedway Corporation announced that Scott Paddock has been named President of Chicagoland Speedway, effective January 18. Mr. Paddock formerly served as Director of Sports Marketing for the Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo Inc. Mr. Paddock, 42, a 15-year veteran in the sports marketing industry, will report to ISC President, John R. Saunders and will be responsible for all operations of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway. Joining Gatorade in 1998, Mr. Paddock was most recently responsible for the management of the brand's $120 million sports marketing sponsorship portfolio, including all league, team and spokesperson relations and negotiations.(ISC)(1-5-2010)


    News from January 4, 2011

  • Day 3: Robby Gordon and the 2011 Dakar Rally: Persevering to overcome a poor finish in Stage 2 due to mechanical issues, the #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER was back on unfamiliar terrain. In the 2010 edition of the Dakar Rally, Stage 3 took the competitors from La Rioja to Fiambala, however, this year the route has moved further east as they make their way to Chile. Beginning the day in San Miguel de Tucuman, this special stage has been split into two parts, totaling 226km or 165 miles. Robby Gordon and navigator, Kellon Walch, made up valuable time in Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally. Starting the day in 21st position overall, Gordon finished the stage in 15th, putting the #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team 17th overall, 1 hour 32 minutes and:42 seconds behind leader, Carlos Sainz.(1-4-2011)

  • Best Buy renews with RPM: Best Buy Co. and Richard Petty Motorsports announced their continued partnership for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season. The agreement extends Best Buy’s status as primary sponsor of the #43 driven by AJ Allmendinger. Best Buy will be the primary sponsor for 24 Sprint Cup Series events in 2011 and will be featured as the primary sponsor for two non-points events, The Duels and the Sprint All-Star race. In addition, Best Buy will serve as an associate sponsor for the #9, driven by Marcos Ambrose. The deal marks the company’s second year with driver AJ Allmendinger and its seventh year in the sport of NASCAR.(Best Buy/RPM)(1-4-2011)

  • SPEED to provide Daytona testing coverage: SPEED and SPEED.com are presenting 23 hours of live testing coverage from Daytona Jan. 20-22 as the Sprint Cup Series engines roar back to life in the month of January for the first time in three years. John Roberts and Jeff Hammond host SPEED's on-air coverage from the studio above Victory Lane at Daytona. Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip will offer analysis throughout the practice sessions with reporting by Bob Dillner and Krista Voda. SPEED.com is presenting live streaming of all on-track activity with the exception of 3-5 p.m. ET Thursday, and will feature a rotation of on-air personalities. Daytona testing coverage gives fans their first extended look at the new race surface at Daytona International Speedway -- a surface the racers expect will add to the level of excitement in February. SPEED schedule for Daytona testing (all times Eastern and live unless otherwise indicated):
    Thursday, Jan. 20
    9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
    1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED.com)
    5 p.m. - 7 p.m. (same-day delay) (SPEED)

    Friday, Jan. 21
    9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
    1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (SPEED)
    2 p.m. - 5 p.m. (SPEED.com)

    Saturday, Jan. 22
    9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (SPEED.com)
    1 p.m. - 2 p.m. – (SPEED)
    2 p.m. - 5 p.m. – (SPEED.com)
    (SPEED)(1-4-2011)

  • Junior Johnson starts team: Junior Johnson has launched a race team that he hopes will propel his son, 17-year-old Robert, eventually to the Sprint Cup Series. The elder Johnson, who was enshrined in NASCAR's Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural 2010 class of inductees, will run Junior Johnson Racing from shops on his 278-acre estate in Hamptonville, N.C. Keith Barnwell, JJR's executive vice president and general manager, said Monday he was standing amidst 800 head of cattle outside one of the two buildings the elder Johnson -- who scored 50 victories as a driver, 132 as an owner and six Cup championships in his legendary career -- had converted into his son's race shop. "We're going to run the full K&N Pro Series East and maybe the West Series' finale at Phoenix," Barnwell said. "On some of our off-weekends, we'll be running some UARA and Whelen All-American Series late model races. Johnson has hired two veteran mechanics with K&N Series experience, Craig Hermann and Robbie Harrison, to work on the operation. Barnwell said some Toyota stock cars have been purchased from the Red Bull Racing Team and that he and Johnson were in the process of making a final decision on what manufacturer they would align themselves with.(NASCAR.com)(1-4-2011)

  • Mayfield’s stepmother says he supplied meth to his father: The father of suspended NASCAR owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield obtained crystal methamphetamines from his son, and when their relationship soured, Jeremy stopped providing the drug for his father, Jeremy’s estranged stepmother Lisa Mayfield said in a lawsuit deposition. Jeremy Mayfield, who is also suing Lisa Mayfield for defamation as part of a counterclaim to a slander suit she filed against him, has asserted in documents filed as part of that lawsuit that Lisa Mayfield has lied about his use of methamphetamines. He reiterated that in a statement Monday.(Scene Daily)(1-4-2010)

  • Next up - Daytona testing Jan. 20-22 & NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest: Daytona 500 champions Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are among the drivers that will appear at NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at historic Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Jan. 20 and Friday, Jan. 21. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take to the new asphalt at Daytona International Speedway in a three-day test session, known as NASCAR Preseason Thunder, Thursday, Jan. 20 through Saturday, Jan. 22.
    Tickets for NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 and available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com. 2011 Daytona 500 ticketholders and children 12 and under will receive free admission. Advanced reservations are available (limited to 250 people) for special autograph sessions to be held with participating 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and Daytona 500 champions. Additional driver autograph sessions will be held on both days with wristbands available the day of the event.
    To request access to the special autograph sessions, race fans can call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit the Daytona International Speedway ticket office beginning on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 9 a.m.
    In addition to viewing the on-track activity from the Sprint FANZONE, fans can watch each day’s testing at no cost from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands near Turn 4.
    Drivers currently scheduled to make appearances on Thursday, Jan. 20 beginning at 6 p.m. are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr. and Regan Smith.
    Scheduled to appear on Friday, Jan. 21, during the 5-7 p.m. session are Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, David Reutimann, Casey Mears, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Kevin Conway, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Ryan Newman. In the 7-9 p.m. session, drivers scheduled to appear are AJ Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth.
    Lastly, race fans will be able to camp in the infield of Daytona International Speedway for free with their admission ticket during the three-day test inside Turns 3 and 4. Sites will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Gates to the infield will open Thursday, Jan. 20 at 8:00 a.m.
    Among the activities planned for both days include:
    • Interactive driver question and answer sessions on the main stage
    • Show cars, displays, music
    • Photo opportunity with the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy
    • Blood drive outside the Turn 4 tunnel
    Tickets for both the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests and the Roar Before The Rolex 24 are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(1-4-2010)

  • Nashville reducing ticket prices: A new year and a new NASCAR season brings new reduced ticket prices for fans of Nashville Superspeedway. Single event tickets for NASCAR events at Nashville will go on sale this Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 8 a.m. Fans can take advantage of the new reduced ticket prices by reserving their seats in advance to receive the best pricing available. Tickets for NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Nashville on April 23 and July 23 start at $30, while tickets for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races on April 22 and July 22 start at $25. Nashville has also increased the age and reduced the price on all junior tickets for fans 14 and under. Juniors can attend any of the four NASCAR events for just $10 when purchased in advance. Tickets purchased at the gate will increase by $5 for juniors and $10 for adults per ticket. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-866-RACE-TIX or online at NashvilleSuperspeedway.com.(NSS)(1-4-2010)


    News from January 3, 2011

  • Day 2: Robby Gordon and the 2011 Dakar Rally: Last year’s edition of the Dakar Rally sent the teams to La Rioja from Cordoba, but today’s [Jan 3] stage was new territory for the competitors of the Dakar Rally as the course headed to San Miguel de Tucuman instead. Robby Gordon knew that the team would not have a strong showing in today’s stage due to the altitude changes and the varying terrain, but he didn’t think that today would end like it did. The #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER had a mechanical issue during today’s stage that required it to be stopped for repairs. As a result, Gordon finished 46th and is now 21st overall, 1 hour, 6 minutes and 55 seconds minutes behind the leaders in the overall standings. Tomorrow, the third stage of the Dakar Rally, will traverse San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy. The special stage has been split into two parts for a total of 226 km.
    For fans tracking the Dakar Rally at home, please visit speedenergy.com, planetrobby.com, dakar.com along with Facebook and Twitter for daily updates on the team's performance including a daily recap, photos and videos. The team will also be doing a preview daily leading up to the Rally that details their Dakar program and what it takes to get the team ready to participate in the 14-stage event. The Versus Channel will provide coverage throughout the United States. A 30-minute daily program featuring highlights from that day's racing will be aired on Versus daily at 3:30pm with a replay airing later in the day. (more notes and quotes at speedenergy.com)(1-3-2011)

  • Kyle Busch, Hamlin return as Gillette Young Guns: Gillette announced the launch of its expanded Gillette Young Guns program by unveiling the 2011 roster of six rising stars in their respective sports: Matt Ryan and Ray Rice from football, Evan Longoria and Carlos Gonzalez from baseball and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch from auto racing. Gillette Young Guns is a sports marketing platform connecting Gillette's full line of grooming products with avid sports fans in North America. The program highlights up-and-coming stars and gives fans an in-depth look into the keys to their success both on and off the field. The Gillette Young Guns will appear in print and broadcast advertising, consumer promotions, point-of-sale materials, online and public relations activities.(Gillette PR)(1-3-2011)


    News from January 2, 2011

  • Day 1: Robby Gordon and the 2011 Dakar Rally: Today [Jan 2nd] marked the official start of the 2011 Dakar Rally. Stage 1, the first of 13 timed stages in this year’s rally race, included a 566-km road section and a 222-km special that began in Victoria and ended in Cordoba. Heavy rain created an unforeseen obstacle for Team Hummer. According to the TV choppers flying over the route, the participants in the car category suffered from skidding and sliding. Robby Gordon, driver of the #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer, started today’s special in fourth place. He was scored 9th as he crossed the CP1 marker located at km 137 together while last year’s winner, Carlos Sainz, led the field. Eliseo Salazar, driver of the #327 SPEED Energy / Cristal CERO Hummer finished today’s stage 28th, 34 minutes, 25 seconds behind.
    For fans tracking the Dakar Rally at home, please visit speedenergy.com, planetrobby.com, dakar.com along with Facebook and Twitter for daily updates on the team’s performance including a daily recap, photos and videos. The team will also be doing a preview daily leading up to the Rally that details their Dakar program and what it takes to get the team ready to participate in the 14-stage event. The Versus Channel will provide coverage throughout the United States. A 30-minute daily program featuring highlights from that day’s racing will be aired on Versus daily at 3:30pm with a replay airing later in the day. (more notes and quotes at speedenergy.com)(1-2-2011)

  • Robby Gordon and the 2011 Dakar Rally: As the riders and drivers line up on the Avenue of the 9th July in Buenos Aires, they provide a grand celebration for the fans of the 2011 Dakar Rally. In true Robby Gordon fashion, he did his part as one of the most popular drivers in the Dakar Rally, jumping the podium and doing a burnout in the middle of the street to the delight of the massive crowd.
    Leg 1: Buenos Aires to Victoria – In the early editions of the Dakar Rally, the riders and drivers methodically started on January 1 at place de la Concorde in Paris. Holding true to the traditions of the rally, the competitors will again be passing an obelisk. This time, like the past two editions, they will be passing the one on the Avenue of the 9th July in Buenos Aires. As the driver’s head to Victoria on a road section stopwatches will not be ticking. After this leg, the drivers will meet their crews at the bivouac to prepare for the second day of the rally. As the rally heads north out of Argentina the contrast of the landscapes change day by day, kilometer by kilometer. This means the driver’s skills will have to adapt between wet and dry, through vegetation and sandy dunes. The team that has the ability to adjust to the ever changing scenery will feel most at comfortable. The 2011 Dakar Rally is truly a cascade of color.
    For fans tracking the Dakar Rally at home, please visit speedenergy.com, planetrobby.com, dakar.com along with Facebook and Twitter for daily updates on the team’s performance including a daily recap, photos and videos. The team will also be doing a preview daily leading up to the Rally that details their Dakar program and what it takes to get the team ready to participate in the 14-stage event. The Versus Channel will provide coverage throughout the United States. A 30-minute daily program featuring highlights from that day’s racing will be aired on Versus daily at 3:30pm with a replay airing later in the day. (RGM)(1-2-2011)

  • Congrats - Kyle Busch gets married: #18-Kyle Busch exchanged vows with his beautiful fiancee, 24-year old Samantha Sarcinella, on Friday Dec. 31 in Chicago. The service was attended by 300 of their close family and friends, including many in the NASCAR community. The wedding reception followed at the Chicago Cultural Center, as the newly named Mr. and Mrs. Busch and guests celebrated their marriage while also using the opportunity to ring in the New Year together. The couple will take a two-week honeymoon before returning home to North Carolina. They have requested fans follow them both on their respective Twitter accounts for special news about the wedding. Twitter.com/KyleBusch and Twitter.com/SamanthaBusch.(KyleBusch.com)(1-2-2011)


    News from January 1, 2011

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  • Another Aussie looking to make a future in NASCAR: Andrew Hagen is helping dig tunnels under the tropical city of Brisbane, not far from where he grew up in Australia. A few weeks ago, he was living in White Lake, pursuing a dream of making it as a NASCAR driver. Hagen, 24, isn't giving up. He returned Down Under in November to see his family and make some seed money. He will be back in Michigan in the New Year to resume his racing career, competing in the Must See Racing Extreme Sprint Series, one of the fastest short-track oval series in the country. In the past Hagen drove in the Super Late Model Series at tracks like Toledo Speedway and Auto City Speedway in a car owned by Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski. Hagen said he would like to run the series again, doubling it up with his dirt and pavement sprint-car program. "It's going to get busy on the track," said Hagen, a regular in the Michigan International Speedway media room since arriving in the U.S. a couple years ago. "Every time you get behind the wheel of a racecar is valuable. You learn something different." Right now, Hagen is working 20-hour shifts under Brisbane. He drives a truck hauling dirt out of the tunnels. "It's not glamorous but the pay is great," Hagen said. "Driving a truck underground at night is a little crazy but it all helps." Hagen drove a couple of sprint-car races late in the 2010 season, one at Berlin Raceway near Grand Rapids and the other at Anderson Speedway in Indiana. He will drive next year for Don and Suellen Wilshe, owners of Wilshe Motorsports Bio-Based USA team.(Detroit Free Press)(1-1-2011)

  • Watkins Glen donates to fix Christmas Display: Watkins Glen International has long recognized its position as a community leader and the legendary road course is getting into the holiday spirit with a very special gift. WGI is proud to announce that it will donate $500 to Charlie and Debbie Santi of Horseheads, NY, to help them repair and rebuild their extensive Christmas display that was vandalized earlier this week. The display was started by Debbie’s late mother, Loretto Chapman, numerous years ago and was taken up by the Santis as a tribute to Chapman following her passing in 1995.
    “I was truly touched by the Santi’s story as I drive past the display each day plus the fact that my own children have enjoyed viewing it during the holiday season,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “This family has spent their own money to provide a tribute to Debbie’s late mother and, in turn, has given our community a wonderful display everyone can enjoy during the holidays. I hope some of our fans will join us in helping Charlie and Debbie not only repair but improve something that has become a staple of our area during this time of year.”
    “I first want to thank Watkins Glen International for this very generous donation,” said Charlie Santi. “This will not only help cover the cost of the repairs we have already made but also allow us to expand our display next year. For several years I have hoped to add a full nativity scene and upgrade our sound system so as to play real Christmas music instead of the computer-generated music we have been using and this donation will assist in achieving our goal.”
    The vandalism took place sometime between the late night on Tuesday, December 28, and the early morning on Wednesday, December 29. The damage included the slicing and subsequent deflating of a large inflatable penguin, knocking over and rearranging of reindeer, tearing down of Christmas lights, and toppling an antenna. Charlie Santi estimated that the couple of spent over $2,500 of their own money in the building of the display to the size it was prior to the vandalism. Anyone interested in making a donation can send them to Display Donations, Attn: Charlie and Debbie Santi, 6 Hickory Grove Rd, Horseheads, NY 14845.
    This is just the latest example of the extensive donations made by WGI to groups and organizations located in Upstate New York. The list of organizations that have received donations in 2010 includes, but is not limited to, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, American Red Cross, and Corning West High School Marching Band.
    Tickets for the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International are on sale NOW! 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)(1-1-2011)


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