NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE
MARCH 2011

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    News from March 31, 2011

  • Final Auto Club TV Ratings posted: NASCAR on FOX notched a 4.6/10 (8.1 million viewers) this Sunday for racing from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. This was the fifth Sprint Cup points race of the season and there are several comparisons to be made to last year. The most relevant is that this week's 4.6/10 is +5% better than last year's fifth race, a 4.4/10 at Bristol. This year's Fontana race aired against NCAA regional finals games, and from that angle there is no comparison to last year because the Martinsville race that would have faced similar basketball games last year was rained out. The least relevant comparison is to last year's Fontana race, which aired in the post-Daytona window last year and earned a 5.6/11 (-18%). In addition to the overall +5% improvement over last year's Bristol race, the Fontana race produced some positive returns among younger viewers. Sunday's 1.6 among Men 18-34 is +14% better than last year's 1.4 at Bristol. Through five races, the 2011 NASCAR on FOX season is now pacing +11% ahead of last year nationally (6.2/14 vs. 5.6/12), including gains among Men 18-34 (+28%, 2.3 vs. 1.8) and Men 18-49 (4.2 vs. 3.7). See overnights, final ratings for other races and 4 year comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-31-2011)

  • All Sport Body Quencher joins up with #36 team: All Sport Body Quencher will join forces with Tommy Baldwin Racing at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. TBR driver Dave Blaney will pilot the #36 All Sport Body Quencher Chevy in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, April 3rd. All Sport, a subsidiary of Big Red, Inc., is one of the nation's leading sportsdrinks and has an extensive history in motorsports, including Tommy Kendall's Championship in the Trans Am series. Launched in 1937, Big Red, with its distinctive flavor and widespread distribution in 44 states, was one of thenation’s fastest growing soft drink brands in 2010. “I've known Tommy for a long time and have tremendous respect for him and his program,” said Gary Smith, CEO of Big Red, Inc. "We are looking forward to a great race this weekend." (Tommy Baldwin Racing)(3-31-2011)

  • Auburn colors for Waltrip: #15-Michael Waltrip is scheduled to run a Auburn University Special paint scheme at Talladega on April 17th. See an image of the scheme on the #15 Team Schemes page.(3-31-2011)

  • Some facts and notes:
    • There have been 14 over the most recent five seasons including Kurt Busch’s (#22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge) winning pass of Ryan Newman (#39 Haas Automation Chevy) in February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
    • Harvick has been on the winning end of a last-lap pass four times in five seasons: on Sunday, last spring at Talladega, in 2009 when he beat Jamie McMurray (#1 Widia Chevy) to win the Budweiser Shootout and in 2007 when he beat Mark Martin (#5 Quaker State/GoDaddy.com Chevy) to the line to win the Daytona 500. His record is 4-1 after Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer (#33 BB&T Chevy) won last fall’s Talladega race.
    Other indicators also point to 2011 as being among the most competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup seasons.
    • Five different winners over the first five races are the most since 2005. Those five winners competed for five different race teams, the most since 2003.
    • Chevy, Ford and Toyota have scored 31 Manufacturers’ Championship points apiece. The top four drivers in the points standings each drive a different brand of car.
    • The new points system offers several levels of excitement. Fourteen points cover the top five positions. There’s also the opportunity to bounce back. Three drivers ranking 25th or worse after the Daytona 500 – Johnson, Harvick and Matt Kenseth (#17 Crown Royal Ford) – have managed to climb into the top 10 over the course of four races.
    • Johnson has scored the most points over the last four races (156) followed by Newman and Harvick (154).(NASCAR)(3-31-2011)

  • Hermie Sadler in the #71 at Martinsville: Hermie Sadler, an Emporia, Virginia native, will be back behind the wheel of the #71 Eco Fuel Saver Chevy in this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500. This will mark Sadler’s 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway and his second start for TRG Motorsports. “I had a lot of fun running for TRG Motorsports last fall at Martinsville,” said Sadler. “Kevin Buckler asked me if I would be willing to do it again, and I jumped at the chance. It’s always fun to get back behind the wheel and it’s an added bonus to do it at Martinsville Speedway, a track that is close to home. It means so much to me to be able to race at one of my favorite tracks in front of my hometown fans. I am truly appreciative of the opportunity.” Sadler, who will be making his 61st career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, has one prior start in the #71 machine for TRG Motorsports. The 41-year-old driver piloted the Kevin Buckler owned Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway in October 2010, bringing home a 26th-place finish, a career best for Sadler and the TRG Motorsports team at the 0.526-mile oval.(TRG)(3-31-2011)

  • Different look for McMurray's car at Martinsville: WIDIA colors will adorn the #1 Chevy this weekend at Martinsville as Jamie McMurray’s primary sponsor. WIDIA is the industry-leading manufacturer of cutting tools. They offer thousands of milling, turning, holemaking, and tooling system products, taking pride in being the metalworking’s oldest and most trusted brand (EGR), see images of the car on my #1 Team Schemes page.(3-31-2011)

  • TRG drops plans to build facility in New Jersey: The Racers Group [TRG Motorsports], a high-profile diversified motorsports company, has dropped plans to build a $5 million headquarters and racing facility at New Jersey Motorsports Park. TRG also began removing equipment Monday from leased garages at the facility, though several months remain on the company's one-year lease agreement. Kevin Buckler, the company's founder and CEO, criticized the performance of the park's management in a statement explaining the decision. The TRG project represented a major potential commercial investment in the park, as well as an opportunity to enhance its reputation in the racing community. TRG's announcement comes as the Motorsports Park's owners are in federal court trying to salvage their business while retaining control of the three-year-old racetrack facility. "When TRG first came to New Jersey Motorsports Park, we had very high hopes on our future plans together as did the park and its management," Buckler stated. "It was a major East Coast expansion for us, adding to our current successful operations in Petaluma, Calif., and Mooresville, N.C. We loved the local town and its people and their enthusiasm for our involvement in the community. The park has obviously had some challenges and things did not develop as we had hoped for," Buckler added. "We no longer support the management of the facility or its vision for the future."(Daily Journal)(3-31-2011)

  • New Gasman staying with Biffle's team UPDATE: Brian Carr who served as the gasman for the #16 3M team in Bristol will also be fueling the car this weekend in California. Carr is also the gasman for the #6 Nationwide team at Roush Fenway Racing.(RFR)(3-23-2011)
    UPDATE: Ryan Dextraze, who was the catchcan guy for the team in 2010 and has been in charge of windshield tear-offs during pit stops this year, will be the gasman for the 3M team this weekend in Martinsville.(RFR)(3-31-2011)

  • Raikkonen to NASCAR? UPDATE 2 approved: after years of rumors, there is a report that 2007 Formula One champ, Kimi Raikkonen, will drive some NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this summer. Raikkonen has been out of F1 for a while and driving in the World Rally Championship. According to a newspaper in his native Finland, Raikkonen will drive some time this summer in NASCAR's Truck Series and eventually move to Nationwide and Sprint Cup. Raikkonen supposedly will drive for a new team called ICE1 that will have Foster Gillett as a partner. Gillett, of course, is the son of sports magnate George Gillett and until last year was running Richard Petty Motorsports.
    From Turun Sanomat: The world champion of Formula One and current rally star Kimi Raikkonen expands his field of experiences: The 31-year-old Finn is going to race in the most popular North American race series NASCAR. The NASCAR debut for Raikkonen will be before the becoming summer. Kimi is going to carry on with WRC Rally, too. He has agreed to do eight more rallies this year. There will bea brand new team to race in NASCAR level: ICE1 Racing. Raikkonen joins forces with Foster Gillett. He will be the major partner of the Finnish team. Among others Foster's family was the former majority owners of the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise and the former co-owners of Liverpool football club. Last year Foster Gillett was operating with Richard Petty Motorsport in NASCAR. Now he is about to break new ground with Raikkonen and ICE1 Racing.
    "I'm really looking forward to get there to familiarize to the world of NASCAR. I have been following it for a long time. I know, it's a very tough and open top racing series. I just love the American spirit of racing. It feels just great to get involved with that. Obviously, it will be very challenging and great fun for me", Raikkonen told the Turun Sanomat. The negotations for the car for ICE1 Racing team are just about to be finished. Raikkonen will race both in ovals and normal track circuits.(Turun Sanomat)(3-29-2011)
    UPDATE - Evernham: Ray Evernham, a former partner of Foster Gillett at Richard Petty Motorsports was a little bit astounded when he learned of the rumor of Kimi Raikkonen coming to NASCAR with a new team owned by Foster Gillett. "I really don't know why Kimi would partner with people who continually fail with sports franchises," Evernham told Auto123.com. "I don't know how they could leave with so many unpaid bills and return to the sport," Evernham added. Evernham says he was not paid over $19USD million and brought a lawsuit against his former partner earlier this year in a state court in North Carolina.(Auto123.com)(3-29-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen has received approval from NASCAR to compete in the Camping World truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20th. Raikkonen is slated to make his debut in the truck series later this summer with a team that includes former Richard Petty Motorsports principal Foster Gillette as a partner. Gillett's father George was the owner of RPM before financial issues forced them to sell the remaining assets of the team to an investor group led by Richard Petty (CBS Sports)(3-31-2011)

  • Martinsville Honorary Starter, Grand Marshal Named: For the 62nd running of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on April 3 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, Goody's Headache Powder, title sponsor of the race since 1983, has designated Wounded Warrior Project heroes Joe Brazzle, Rashe Hall and Sue Downs as the grand marshals, and Victory Junction camper Garon Parris as the honorary starter for the 500-lap event. Through the Goody's and BC Powder Pick A Powder campaign rivals and spokesmen – country music superstar Trace Adkins and racing legend Richard Petty – have formed a closer partnership with Adkins chosen charity, Wounded Warrior Project on behalf of BC and Petty's chosen charity Victory Junction on behalf of Goody's, making both service-oriented charities a pivotal aspect of the Goody's Fast Relief 500. Pick A Powder, the friendly rivalry to see which brand –BC or Goody's– is most effective on pain and has the most loyal users, will take a back seat on April 3 as Wounded Warrior Project and Victory Junction take center stage. Tickets for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-31-2011)

  • Some track activities at Martinsville: The Virginia Military Institute Glee club will perform a prerace show of patriotic songs from the front stretch Sunday afternoon and then sing "God Bless America" before Trace Adkins sings the National Anthem. The VMI Glee Club, which has been in existence since 1858, has entertained groups from coast-to-coast, singing for everything from gubernatorial inaugurations to the National Shrine in Washington, DC, to PGA Tournaments. Their version of the anthem is authentic and traditional. The VMI Glee Club is made up of 30 cadets from all classes, academic majors and ROTC affiliations at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA. It is the oldest performing group at VMI. VMI is the nation's oldest state supported military college, founded in 1839.
    The VFA-31 Tomcatters out of the Naval Air Station in Oceana, VA, are back for their second turn opening the Goody's Fast Relief 500 with a flyover. Lieutenant Commander Kevin Robb and Lieutenant Dustin Packer put on quite the show from the pilot seats for their F/A-18E Super Hornets. The Tomcatters will have a set of experienced eyes watching them Sunday afternoon. Lieutenant General Jeffrey A. Remington, a three-star Air Force general, will be taking in a day at the race on Sunday. Remington knows a thing or two about piloting a jet. He is a command general with over 4,100 hours flying mostly F-15s and F-16s. Tickets for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 weekend are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or by visiting martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-31-2011)


    News from March 30, 2011

  • #78 Crew Chief fined over infraction: Peter Rondeau, crew chief for the #78 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been penalized for a rule violation committed last week at Auto Club Speedway. Rondeau has been fined $25,000 for violating sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-2.3A (improperly attached weight) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book. The violation occurred during practice on March 25.(NASCAR)(3-30-2011)

  • Stremme gets ride with new team: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year David Stremme will return to the series at Richmond later this month with the new Inception Motorsports team. Stremme will drive the #30 Inception Chevy in a select schedule of events this season, beginning with the Crown Royal Presents the Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400 at Richmond on April 30, with a goal of running the full 2012 Sprint Cup schedule. Veterans Steve Lane and Gus Larkin will be a part of the new operation, with Lane serving as crew chief and Larkin -- who most recently served as the Team Manager at JR Motorsports -– managing managing the team’s day-to-day business. Inception Motorsports will be based in Mooresville, N.C., and will be privately funded through the Inception Investment Group. “The plan is solid,” said Stremme, who has a combined total of 20 Top-5 and 52 Top-10 finishes in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing, Rusty Wallace Racing and Braun Racing. “We’re going to pick our shots this season, earn respect and establish ourselves as a competitive race team. Then we’ll make a points run in 2012. The exciting thing about Inception is that everyone involved is experienced in the sport,” he said. “I think this will be a good deal. We all share a common belief system about how to build and operate a successful race team.”(Sirius Speedway)(3-30-2011)

  • NASCAR show car goes on display at Reagan Library: President Ronald Reagan was not only the first sitting president to attend a NASCAR race, but also the first president to give the command, "Start your engines, Daytona." Because of Reagan's love for the American sport, a red, white and blue NASCAR show car emblazoned with his name was unveiled Monday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley. The #98 Chevy, delivered by Curb Records and the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, will be part of a special temporary exhibit May 27 to Oct. 23 that will feature Reagan's interest in car racing. "I am positive that President Reagan would've really enjoyed seeing his name on this car," said John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, as the car was unveiled inside Air Force One Pavilion in front of an audience that included children from local elementary schools. Also on hand were former California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, national recording artist Tim Dugger, and Austin Dillon, a 20-year-old NASCAR driver and grandson of famed NASCAR driver Richard Childress. Twelve NASCAR and Indy 500 cars on display in the new racing exhibit at the Reagan Library. Also on display will be the #2 Chevy that Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove in his first Winston Cup Championship, along with personal items, artifacts, photos and videos that showcase Reagan's interest in the sport.(vcstar.com) see images at that site or on my #98 Team Schemes page.(3-30-2011)

  • BB&T return to the #33 at Martinsville: The #33 Chevy of Clint Bowyer will sport a different paint scheme this weekend as longtime RCR partner, BB&T, adorns the car. Bowyer last ran the maroon and yellow paint scheme two weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Jeff Byrd 500 (RCR), see images at that site or on my #33 Team Schemes page.(3-30-2011)

  • Martinsville Marks Milestones: Longevity and performance are hallmarks in the career of #5-Mark Martin due to celebrate his 800th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Martin's signature start comes nearly to the day of his first NASCAR Sprint Cup appearance (April 5, 1981) at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway where the then 22-year-old Batesville, Ark., native finished 27th. Over the course of 29 seasons, Martin has:
    • Won 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and posted 96 victories across three national series, tops among active drivers.
    • Finished among the top three in NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings nine times, most recently in 2009 when he finished second.
    • Martin is only the eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor to reach the 800-start plateau and likely will pass Darrell Waltrip (seventh with 809) and Kyle Petty (fifth with 829) later this year. His combined 1,055 national-series starts are second only to the 1,185 appearances of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.
    Martin isn't the only NASCAR Sprint Cup driver celebrating career milestones at Martinsville.
    • #16-Greg Biffle and #1-Jamie McMurray will mark career starts No. 300. Biffle, a former NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, will make his 625th national series appearance.
    • #14-Tony Stewart remains one top-10 shy of career No. 250.
    Additionally, Kyle Busch could reach yet another lap-leader milestone in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500. Busch, who celebrated his 10,000 NASCAR Nationwide Series lap led on March 19 at Bristol Motor Speedway, is 332 laps from leading his 20,000th across the three national series.(NASCAR)(3-30-2011)

  • NASCAR may let fans stay forever UPDATE voted down: NASCAR fans who consider Daytona International Speedway their home away from home could soon make it their final resting place, too -- albeit less quiet and peaceful than a traditional cemetery. Legislation making its way through the Florida House and Senate would allow construction of an on-site columbarium -- a building or structure that houses urns -- at both Daytona International Speedway and Homestead Miami Speedway. International Speedway Corp. spokesman Lenny Santiago said many NASCAR fans have inquired over the years about having their ashes laid to rest at Daytona International Speedway. "We have a lot of fans that are very, very loyal to NASCAR races and to Daytona in general," Santiago said. "This opens that door, this bill, and we're hopeful that this will get passed." If it passes, the bill would become law July 1. It has been approved by two House committees and has its first Senate committee hearing today. Daytona International Speedway doesn't have a proposed location for the structure yet or any timeline for building it until the bill passes, Santiago said, although it would be somewhere public that fans would be able to see. He also said he didn't know what kind of fees the Speedway might charge to fans looking to place their ashes there.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-29-2011)
    UPDATE: Racing fans who might have dreamed of making the Daytona International Speedway their eternal home had their hopes dashed Tuesday as a Florida Senate committee voted down a bill that would have made those dreams possible. The Senate Committee on Regulated Industries rejected the bill by a 5-7 vote, which would have allowed columbariums to be built at both Daytona International Speedway and Homestead Miami Speedway. Columbariums are buildings that house urns. The state House companion bill had already passed two committees and was scheduled for its third and final committee hearing Thursday. "I just felt very strongly that to have people's remains, cremated remains, at the same place where there's NASCAR racing and a motorsports entertainment complex was not appropriate," said state Sen. Maria Lorts Sachs, D-Delray Beach, the committee's vice chairwoman. "A lot of that has to do with the fact that I love NASCAR, and I love Daytona, and I didn't want it to turn into a partial cemetery."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-30-2011)

  • At Martinsville Speedway::
    · Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States.
    · The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948.
    · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949.
    · The track was paved in 1955.
    · The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956.
    · Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.
    · There have been 124 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950.
    · Curtis Turner won the pole for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville in 1949.
    · Red Byron won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
    · 55 drivers have won poles, led by Darrell Waltrip with eight. Jeff Gordon, with seven poles, can tie that mark this weekend.
    · Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Darrell Waltrip share the consecutive pole record, each with three.
    · 45 different drivers have won, led by Richard Petty's 15.
    · Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with seven wins. Jimmie Johnson has six and Denny Hamlin has four.
    · 19 races have been won from the pole, the last by Denny Hamlin in October 2010.
    · Petty Enterprises has won 19 races, more than any other organization. Hendrick Motorsports, with 18 wins, can tie that mark this weekend.
    · Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race from the 36th starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
    · Three active drivers average a top 10: Jimmie Johnson (5.3), Denny Hamlin (6.0) and Jeff Gordon (7.0).
    * There have been 270 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Virginia.
    * 160 drivers in NASCAR's three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as Virginia.
    * There have been 18 race winners from Virginia in NASCAR's three national series.(NASCAR)(3-30-2011)

  • NASCAR The Game 2011 released on Xbox, PS3: NASCAR racing is back in the hands of the fans with the release of NASCAR The Game 2011. Activision Publishing, Inc. and leading independent developer Eutechnyx announced the release of NASCAR The Game 2011 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation3 computer entertainment system. NASCAR The Game 2011 captures the thrill and spectacle of NASCAR with a complete field of 43 cars and drivers, 23 authentic tracks, full damage modeling, realistic wrecks, pit stops and truly authentic details from pre-race flyovers to victory spinouts. A partnership with Sprint brings enhanced game replays, a special unlockable Sprint decal pack and even Miss Sprint Cup into the game. NASCAR The Game 2011 is available now on Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 system for $59.99 MSRP and on the Wii System from Nintendo later this Spring for $49.99 MSRP. It is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. For more information visit www.NASCARTheGame.com.(NASCAR)(3-30-2011)

  • Biffle says extension with Roush Fenway is close: #16-Greg Biffle says he's close to signing an extension with Roush Fenway Racing, and would be surprised if teammate #99-Carl Edwards does not do the same. Biffle has said since the start of the season that he's working on a new deal with team owner Jack Roush. He said Tuesday at an event at Charlotte Motor Speedway's zMAX Dragway that he's not had an overwhelming interest to test the free-agent market. He says a combination of the economy, the current driver lineups and the improvement at Roush Fenway has made him comfortable driving the #16 Ford. Biffle also believes that the organization has shown so much improvement through the first five races of this season, that teammate Edwards would have a hard time finding a job better than the one he has.(Associated Press)(3-30-2011)


    News from March 29, 2011

  • Biffle Victorious in Four-Wide Showdown with John Force, Kenseth and Ragan: Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle scored an upset victory in a four-wide battle of NASCAR stars versus an NHRA legend today at zMAX Dragway during a race held to promote the second annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 14-17. Defending VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Funny Car champion John Force welcomed Biffle and fellow Roush Fenway Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and David Ragan to his turf today for a four-wide elimination battle in 2011 supercharged Ford Mustang GTs. Ragan, driver of the #6 UPS Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, was the driver with the slowest time on the first pass and the first driver to be eliminated. In an outcome that surprised everyone in attendance, including media and visiting soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., Force was eliminated with the slowest time on the second pass. The final elimination pass left Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, battling fellow Roush Fenway Racing driver Kenseth, driver of the #17 Crown Royal Ford. The race was close, but Biffle emerged victorious, winning the final round with an elapsed time of 13.284 on the world's only four-lane, all concrete drag strip. Fifteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion driver and 17-time champion car owner Force was in Charlotte, N.C., today for the race and a media tour promoting the VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals (CMS)(3-29-2011)

  • NASCAR may let fans stay forever: NASCAR fans who consider Daytona International Speedway their home away from home could soon make it their final resting place, too -- albeit less quiet and peaceful than a traditional cemetery. Legislation making its way through the Florida House and Senate would allow construction of an on-site columbarium -- a building or structure that houses urns -- at both Daytona International Speedway and Homestead Miami Speedway. International Speedway Corp. spokesman Lenny Santiago said many NASCAR fans have inquired over the years about having their ashes laid to rest at Daytona International Speedway. "We have a lot of fans that are very, very loyal to NASCAR races and to Daytona in general," Santiago said. "This opens that door, this bill, and we're hopeful that this will get passed." If it passes, the bill would become law July 1. It has been approved by two House committees and has its first Senate committee hearing today. Daytona International Speedway doesn't have a proposed location for the structure yet or any timeline for building it until the bill passes, Santiago said, although it would be somewhere public that fans would be able to see. He also said he didn't know what kind of fees the Speedway might charge to fans looking to place their ashes there.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-29-2011)

  • Raikkonen to NASCAR?: after years of rumors, there is a report that 2007 Formula One champ, Kimi Raikkonen, will drive some NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this summer. Raikkonen has been out of F1 for a while and driving in the World Rally Championship. According to a newspaper in his native Finland, Raikkonen will drive some time this summer in NASCAR's Truck Series and eventually move to Nationwide and Sprint Cup. Raikkonen supposedly will drive for a new team called ICE1 that will have Foster Gillett as a partner. Gillett, of course, is the son of sports magnate George Gillett and until last year was running Richard Petty Motorsports.
    From Turun Sanomat: The world champion of Formula One and current rally star Kimi Raikkonen expands his field of experiences: The 31-year-old Finn is going to race in the most popular North American race series NASCAR. The NASCAR debut for Raikkonen will be before the becoming summer. Kimi is going to carry on with WRC Rally, too. He has agreed to do eight more rallies this year. There will bea brand new team to race in NASCAR level: ICE1 Racing. Raikkonen joins forces with Foster Gillett. He will be the major partner of the Finnish team. Among others Foster's family was the former majority owners of the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise and the former co-owners of Liverpool football club. Last year Foster Gillett was operating with Richard Petty Motorsport in NASCAR. Now he is about to break new ground with Raikkonen and ICE1 Racing.
    "I’m really looking forward to get there to familiarize to the world of NASCAR. I have been following it for a long time. I know, it’s a very tough and open top racing series. I just love the American spirit of racing. It feels just great to get involved with that. Obviously, it will be very challenging and great fun for me", Raikkonen told the Turun Sanomat. The negotations for the car for ICE1 Racing team are just about to be finished. Raikkonen will race both in ovals and normal track circuits.(Turun Sanomat)(3-29-2011)
    UPDATE - Evernham: Ray Evernham, a former partner of Foster Gillett at Richard Petty Motorsports was a little bit astounded when he learned of the rumor of Kimi Raikkonen coming to NASCAR with a new team owned by Foster Gillett. “I really don’t know why Kimi would partner with people who continually fail with sports franchises,” Evernham told Auto123.com. “I don’t know how they could leave with so many unpaid bills and return to the sport,” Evernham added. Evernham says he was not paid over $19USD million and brought a lawsuit against his former partner earlier this year in a state court in North Carolina.(Auto123.com)(3-29-2011)

  • Jeff Gordon to appear in Cars 2: #24-Jeff Gordon will make an appearance in Cars 2 as Jeff Gorvette, an up-and-coming Chevrolet Corvette C6.R that's "turning hoods wherever he competes." More than just a cameo, Gordon's character will compete as a "respected competitor - and legitimate threat - at the World Grand Prix." Pixar makes no obvious connection to Gordon's actual roots in NASCAR, but the character of Jeff Gorvette is a Chevrolet and will wear #24 like Gordon's actual racecar, although obviously it isn't an Impala.(Jeff Gordon site)(3-29-2011)

  • Bayne & Wingo to to be honored at Wood Brothers Racing Museum: When the NASCAR circuit returns to Martinsville, Va. next week for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Eddie, Len and Kim will host an event at their racing museum in Stuart that brings together the best of both Wood Brothers Racing worlds. On Friday night, April 1, from 7 to 9 p.m., fans and friends of the Wood Brothers will get a chance to meet both the original Wood Brothers and the team’s latest Daytona 500 winners, driver Trevor Bayne and crew chief Donnie Wingo. Representing the Original Wood Brothers that began racing 61 years ago are team founder and driver Glen Wood, crew chief Leonard Wood, tire changer Ray Lee Wood and jackman Delano Wood. For Wood family friends and race fans in the area, to see Bayne drive the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion at nearby Martinsville Speedway, it’s a rare opportunity to see the Original Wood Brothers. Ray Lee retired in 1965 and Delano in 1983 and neither has been to a NASCAR race since. “This is probably the first time the four of them have been together in a racing setting since 1965,” Eddie Wood said. Trevor, Donnie and The Wood Brothers will all be on hand to greet friends and family and to sign autographs. Eddie Wood said the event is his generation’s way of recognizing the family members, as well as the friends and fans, who have stood by them through the good times in the past as well as the lean times in between victories. “We just want to thank the people that have supported us through the years,” he said. The Wood Brothers Racing Museum at 21 Performance Drive in Stuart, Va. will be open Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. As always, admission is free.(Wood Brothers Racing)(3-29-2011)

  • VA Mortgage Center.com returns to sponsor #32 car: VA Mortgage Center.com, the nation's No. 1 dedicated VA lender, is again proud to sponsor Ken Schrader and the FAS Lane Racing team at the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, April 3. Schrader, a Missouri native, will be behind the wheel of the VA Mortgage Center.com #32 Ford for the annual springtime NASCAR Sprint Series Cup event at Martinsville Speedway. He'll also be looking for a bit of redemption after just missing the cut at the recent Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway. "It'll be great to get back to Martinsville for another shot at a Sprint Cut series win," Schrader said. "Frank and his crew will have the VAMC car ready for another fast-paced run at one of the country's best tracks." This will mark Kenny's third race for FAS Lane, which crew chief Frank Stoddard formed in February. Stoddard owns the VAMC #32 car, a Ford Fusion from Roush-Fenway Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports. A unique feature of the #32 car is the motto on the bumper: "Enhance Lives." The phrase is one of VAMC's core values. It's also inscribed on the underside of the hood, along with the company's other two major values - "Be passionate and have fun" and "Deliver results with integrity." Stoddard said he's grateful for VAMC's continued support of FAS Lane Racing and NASCAR. "We're excited to have the VA Mortgage Center.com #32 car back in action at Martinsville," Stoddard said. "We're proud to have the support of a company that's committed to helping military members and their families." VA Mortgage Center.com is committed to helping Kenny Schrader and Frank Stoddard make the 2011 racing season a success. "Kenny and Frank have tremendous track records and legions of fans nationwide," said Nathan Long, CEO of VA Mortgage Center.com. "These are racing veterans who know what it takes to win. We're excited to be a part of the team."(FAS Lane Racing)(3-29-2011)

  • Gander Mountain to sponsor #34 at Texas: Gander Mountain announced that the outdoor retailer will be the primary sponsor of Front Row Motorsports' (FRM) #34 Sprint Cup Ford at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 9. The car will be piloted by veteran NASCAR driver David Gilliland. Gander Mountain returns as a racing sponsor for the third season due to the number of NASCAR fans who also enjoy hunting, fishing and camping, according to Steve Uline, Gander Mountain's executive vice president of marketing. "David Gilliland is an avid outdoorsman, as are many NASCAR fans," he said. "One of David's favorite pastimes outside of NASCAR is fishing. He understands Gander Mountain's 'We Live Outdoors' culture and is the perfect driver to help us take our message to race fans under the lights at Texas." Gander Mountain, with 116 stores in 23 states, is the nation's largest retail network of stores for hunting, fishing, camping, marine and outdoor lifestyle apparel, products and services. The company offers thousands of products in its online store and now includes free standard shipping. In addition, the on line site now offers a firearms department with a broad selection of ammunition, rifles, handguns, shotguns, and accessories.(Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits) see an image of the scheme on the #34 Team Schemes page.(3-29-2011)

  • Jay Robinson Racing to run Cup? Although Jay Robinson Racing [#28 team in NNS] is no stranger to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Robinson also gave details about going Cup racing this season—very soon. “It’s not a matter of if, but when. We already have the car, the license, and the car number. ” The team is hoping to within the next couple of months.(Racing Experts)(3-29-2011)

  • Gibbs working to identify cause of engine problems: Joe Gibbs Racing officials are scrambling to uncover the cause of an unusually high number of engine issues during the first five races of the Sprint Cup season. JGR had two issues this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California. The engine in #20-Joey Logano's Toyota had to be replaced on Saturday when valve leakage was discovered following the final practice. #11-Denny Hamlin's engine failed 105 laps into the race due to an unrelated value train issue. In all, JGR has had three engine failures in races and three more engines replaced prior to a race because problems arose. Last season, the organization had only two DNFs due to engine failure between Hamlin, Logano and #18-Kyle Busch. "Is there concern? Of course," said Jimmy Makar, JGR's senior vice president of race operations. "We've had a lot more issues than we'd like to see, this early in the season especially. Probably the bigger issue is for the most part they are non-related. That makes things harder to figure out. If you had the same thing happening over and over again you could focus on it." Makar said only Hamlin's failure on Sunday showed signs of a potential bad part. More alarming, Makar said there were very few changes made to the engines during the offseason. He said the organization purposely left things the way they were, with minor adjustments to improve fuel mileage that may have cost Hamlin the championship last season, before experimenting with new ideas.(ESPN.com)(3-29-2011)

  • Clint Bowyer building community center for his hometown: Clint Bowyer strapped on a hard hat instead of a racing helmet and gripped a gold-tipped shovel in place of a steering wheel. Then, as he does each Sunday as a Sprint Cup driver, Bowyer awaited the command, this one coming from Dan Foltz, the president of KBS Constructors Inc: "Gentleman, start your … shovels!" Bowyer and 11 other dignitaries responded by digging into the dirt on a chilly Monday morning and ceremonially broke ground for the Bowyer Community Building at the Lyon County Fairgrounds. The $1 million, 6,500 square-foot building is scheduled to open in September. It will serve Bowyer's hometown as a community center for business and organizational meetings, wedding receptions, graduation parties and simply as a safe and friendly place where youngsters can hang out. The community center is a private-public partnership. The building will be paid for through Bowyer's 79 Fund - named for the number of his first dirt car - and the county will provide street and parking improvements.(Kansas City Star)(3-29-2011)

  • 811 logos on the #22 during April: For the third consecutive season, Shell and the Common Ground Alliance are teaming up to raise awareness of 811, the national 'Call Before You Dig' number. Shell will leverage its partnership with Penske Racing in an effort to protect America's underground infrastructure. During National Safe Digging Month in April, the 811 logo will run on the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driven by Kurt Busch.(Shell/Sports Dimensions)(3-29-2011)

  • Kansas June race, qualifying on Saturday: In a continual effort to optimize the fan experience while allowing fans to stretch their entertainment dollar, Kansas Speedway President Patrick Warren announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying for the Kansas Speedway 400 will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2011. “We feel that that by moving Sprint Cup qualifying from Friday to Saturday will allow fans to be more involved in the entire weekend’s festivities while easing some travel and lodging concerns,” said Warren. “Our fans will be able to see Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series qualifying in addition, to the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 truck series event on the same day.” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will vie for the pole position beginning at 9:40 am followed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at 11:10 am. Opening ceremonies for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 will begin at 12:30 pm with trucks taking the green flag at 1:00 pm. O’Reilly Auto Parts Qualifying Day for the Oct. 9 Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway will be on Friday, Oct. 7. Tickets are available for all races by calling 866.460.RACE (7223) or by logging onto www.kansasspeedway.com. Parking at Kansas Speedway is always free and fans may bring one 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler into the grandstands to enjoy their favorite food and beverages.(Kansas Speedway)(3-29-2011)

  • '24 Special' ticket package at Sonoma: Race fans can once again secure preferred access to a scheduled question and answer session with NASCAR star and Vallejo native Jeff Gordon at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma with the "24 Special" ticket package. Gordon will be front-and-center for race fans with a special chalk-talk session just hours before the drop of the green flag for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. For the third consecutive year, Infineon Raceway will offer race fans the "24 Special," which gets you one ticket to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 26, plus the second ticket for just $24 (total price, $119). That's a savings of $70 on two tickets. Race fans can purchase the "24 Special" by calling 800-870-RACE (7223) or visiting infineonraceway.com/24Special. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend at Infineon Raceway is scheduled for June 24-26.(Infineon Raceway)(3-29-2011)

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR Hall of Fame Provide Added Benefits to Members: Season ticket holders and Speedway Club members at Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR Hall of Fame members will reap the benefits of an ongoing partnership between the two motorsports entities with the creation of new, exclusive benefits for these select groups. All Victory Lane Season Ticket holders and Speedway Club members will receive a 10% discount on admission at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, as well as a 10% discount in the Hall of Fame Gear Shop when they show their Victory Lane Hard Card or Speedway Club membership card and photo ID. Members can also take advantage of racing simulator rides for just $3, a savings of 40 percent. When NASCAR Hall of Fame members visit Charlotte Motor Speedway, they'll receive a 10% discount on event tickets, as well as a 10% discount on merchandise and souvenirs in the Charlotte Motor Speedway gift shop. To receive the discount, Hall of Fame members need only to show their membership hard card at the ticket office or gift shop.(CMS)(3-29-2011)


    News from March 28, 2011

  • The Entry List for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is posted, 45 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    2011 Owners Points are used after the 5th race which was Auto Club Speedway.
    Three teams moved into the top 35 that were not in: #09 Phoenix Racing, #13 Germain Racing and #32 FAS Lane Racing [a new team for 2011].
    Three teams dropped out: #71 TRG Motorsports, #37 Front Row and #38 Front Row.
    Not in top 35 of owners points:
    #36-Dave Blaney (37/5)
    #37-Tony Raines (38/5)
    #38-Travis Kvapil (39/5)
    #46-J.J. Yeley (41/5)
    #60-TBA (42/5)
    #66-Michael McDowell (45/5)
    #71-Hermie Sadler (36/5)
    #75-Derrike Cope (0/0)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (43/5)
    #92-Dennis Setzer (44/4)
    In the event that all practices and qualifying are all rained out or cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #'s 71,36,37,38,46,60,87,66
    missing the race would be [2]: #'s 92, 75
    See the full entry list at my Jayski's Martinsville Entry List.(3-28-2011)

  • TV Ratings down a tad over 5th race in 2010: NASCAR on FOX notched a 4.1/9 in the metered markets Sunday for racing from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. This was the fifth Sprint Cup points race of the season and yesterday's 4.1/9 is off -2% compared to last year's fifth race, a 4.2/9 at Bristol. Yesterday's race aired against NCAA regional finals games, and from that angle there is no comparison to last year because the Martinsville race that would have faced similar basketball games last year was rained out. The least relevant comparison is to last year's Fontana race, which aired in the post-Daytona window last year and earned a 5.0/10 (-18%). Through five races, the 2011 NASCAR On FOX season is now pacing +8% ahead of last year in the metered markets (5.4/12 vs. 5.0/10). See 2011 TV Ratings, comparison chart and more on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-28-2011)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Auto Club 400: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on during these races, here is the breakdown for Sunday's race. Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 110
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 59
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 53
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:00 pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:59 pm
    Total minutes: 179
    Minutes of race broadcast: 130
    Minutes of commercials: 49
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 2
    For driver focus, past races, links see the 2011 TV Commercials Page.(3-28-2011)

  • Edwards in no hurry for new contract: #99-Carl Edwards isn't in a hurry to negotiate a new contract with Roush Fenway Racing or any other Sprint Cup organization. You can't blame him. Edwards is leading the Cup standings after Sunday's sixth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. He's won three of the past seven races dating back to last season, and with a little luck could have won six. "The biggest thing I don't want to do is mess anything up by focusing too much on that," Edwards said. "We all work very hard to be in the exact position we are in right now. I don't want to mess that up by focusing on the contract right now. I am leaving it alone for right now," Edwards said. "We will just see what happens." As long as Edwards continues on this run he will maintain a huge bargaining edge. He's by far the most sought-after free agent, and in tough economic times when most drivers with new deals are taking huge cuts he is in position to perhaps maintain.(ESPN.com)(3-28-2011)

  • Austin Dillion to make Cup debut: UPDATE: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration and the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma will be the primary sponsors when Austin Dillon makes his Sprint Cup Series debut later this season in the #98 Curb-Agajanian Performance Group Chevy. The Ronald Reagan Centennial is a historic, year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 40th President of the United States of America. A series of substantive and celebratory events, partnerships, and initiatives sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation are planned throughout 2011. The specific race will be announced at a later date.(RCR)(3-27-2011)
    UPDATE: Austin Dillon will make his Sprint Cup debut later this year at either Kansas in October or Phoenix in November in a car built by his grandfather’s Richard Childress Racing. Team co-owner Mike Curb, owner of Curb Records, was a lieutenant governor under Reagan as well as co-chairman of Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. The team for Dillon will get its car from RCR, an engine from Earnhardt Childress Racing and will use Dillon’s RCR crew that fields his car in the Camping World Truck Series.(Scene Daily)(3-28-2011)

  • Goodyear plans to use California tire at Bristol in fall: Goodyear plans to bring the right-side tire that teams used in Sunday's race to Bristol in August. Goodyear officials brought a different right-side tire to Bristol last week, but it didn't rubber the track as quickly as hoped and caused tire issues. So, a different batch of tires was brought and Nationwide and Cup teams raced with those. Stucker said they're confident in the California tire and don't plan to test at Bristol before the August race. Goodyear is scheduled to test at Dover on April 19 to confirm the tire selection for that race. Goodyear is scheduled to test April 26-27 at Indianapolis with Juan Pablo Montoya, MartinTruex Jr., Kurt Busch, Trevor Bayne and the Richard Childress Racing team. Goodyear also is scheduled to test at Kentucky on May 17 in preparation for that track's first Cup race in July.(Virginian-Pilot)(3-28-2011)

  • Michigan adds credit card payments at concession stands: Knowing race fans want convenience when they attend NASCAR events, Americrown and Michigan International Speedway officials have announced credit card systems will be installed at most of the track's concessions stands in time for the 2011 season. Concession stands will accept credit cards at most locations including the Coca-Cola Champions Grill at the base of the center grandstand tower near the start-finish line, inside the MIS Champions Club and at the permanent infield stand just off the Pit Patio, to name a few. All major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover will be accepted. Stands that accept credit cards will be marked.(MIS)(3-28-2011)


    News from March 27, 2011

  • Kevin Harvick wins at Auto Club Speedway: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway for his 1st win of 2010 and the 15th of his career. He came from 3rd place with 3 laps remaining and passed #48-Jimmie Johnson for the win coming off turn 4 on the final lap. Johnson held on for second. #18-Busch, who led 151 laps on the day finished 3rd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #39-Newman, #99-Edwards, #33-Bowyer, #83-Vickers, #4-Kahne, and pole sitter #42-Montoya. Points leader going in to the race, #22-Busch finished 17th.
    There were 18 lead changes among 10 drivers; 4 cautions for 16 yellow flag laps and the attendance is listed as 88,000 up from last year's 72,000 at the February race and 70,000 at the October race.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air on SPEED, Wednesday, March 30 at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Auto Club Race Results/Awards page. (3-20-2011)

  • Race Fast Facts - Auto Club Speedway:
    Kevin Harvick won the 15th Annual Auto Club 400, his 15th victory in 363 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2011. He led just one lap - the last
    This is his first victory and eighth top-10 finish in 18 races at Auto Club Speedway. This is his first national series victory at this track. This also is the first Sprint Cup victory at the track for Richard Childress Racing.
    Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 17 races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2011.
    Kyle Busch (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Andy Lally (32nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Carl Edwards leads the point standings by 9 points over Ryan Newman. (NASCAR Statistics)(3-27-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Points Standings:
    [after Auto Club Speedway, race 5 of 36]:
    rank, car#, driver, points, behind
    1) #99-Carl Edwards 187 [1 win]
    2. Ryan Newman178 -9
    3) #22-Kurt Busch 177 -10
    4) #18-Kyle Busch 176 -11 [1 win]
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 173 -14
    6) #14-Tony Stewart 170 -17
    7) #27-Paul Menard 164 -23
    8) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya 161 -26
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 157 -30 [1 win]
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 157 -30
    11) #4-Kasey Kahne 157 -30
    12) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 156 -31
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(3-27-2011)

  • Top-35 in Owner Points: with 2011 points to be used at Martinsville:
    30) #1-McMurray/EGR, 97, +36
    31) #20-Logano/JGR, 93, +32
    32) #78-Smith/FRR, 92, +31
    33) #32-Schrader/FAS Lane, 77, +16
    34) #7-RGordon/RGM, 69, +8
    35) #13-Mears/Germain, 67, 6 points ahead of 36th
    these teams / drivers will need to qualify by speed:
    36) #71-Lally/TRG, 61, -6 out of top 35
    37) #36-Blaney/TBR, 58, -9
    38) #37-Raines/Front Row, 58, -9
    39) #38-Kvapil/Front Row, 55, -12
    For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(3-27-2011)

  • Austin Dillion to make Cup debut: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration and the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma will be the primary sponsors when Austin Dillon makes his Sprint Cup Series debut later this season in the #98 Curb-Agajanian Performance Group Chevy. The Ronald Reagan Centennial is a historic, year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 40th President of the United States of America. A series of substantive and celebratory events, partnerships, and initiatives sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation are planned throughout 2011. The specific race will be announced at a later date.(RCR)(3-27-2011)

  • Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to tweet: Many NASCAR drivers have gotten involved with Twitter, some extensively, tweeting practically from the moment they wake up in the morning. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't one of them. Certainly, he understands Twitter's usefulness and his team's use of it, but he just can't get into it. "I used to have a Myspace.com page and I used to have a Facebook page, (but) I don't anymore because it was just too much responsibility," he said. "I felt like you had to plug in and be involved with it so much and I thought personally I don't need to do it. I understand we use it on the business side of it and how it works for JRM, but personally, you know, it would be fun for about a month and then I would start to feel like it was a job where people expected me to do it."(Associated Press)(3-27-2011)

  • Gretchen Wilson to Perform Saturday Night Infield Concert at Talladega: The party continues as Grammy Award-winning artist Gretchen Wilson performs a free Saturday night infield concert for Talladega Superspeedway race fans. The April 16th concert will be open to all infield guests and any race fan presenting a Sunday Aaron's 499 race ticket. With the release of her fourth studio album, I Got Your Country Right Here, Gretchen Wilson solidifies her position as one of contemporary country's most original and multi-faceted female artists.To purchase or for more information on tickets to Talladega Superspeedway, please visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(3-27-2011)

  • Talladega and NASCAR Hall of Fame offer Bobby Allison Ticket Offer:Talladega Superspeedway and the NASCAR Hall of Fame are offering an exclusive ticket package to commemorate Bobby Allison's 2011 Induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The $69 package includes seating in the Allison Grandstands at Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's 312 and Aaron's 499, access to a Q&A with Allison on Saturday and Sunday of race weekend, admission to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega Superspeedway and an admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. The Bobby Allison Hall of Fame offer also presents a great savings for families. Kid's 12 and under will receive all the same amenities as their parents for only $15. All-You -Can-Eat packages for Saturday and Sunday can be added to both Bobby Allison Hall of Fame offers for an additional $40. To purchase or for more information on tickets to Talladega Superspeedway or this event, please visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(3-27-2011)


    News from March 26, 2011

  • Happy hour practice for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway is over, the top five and some notes:
    #6-Ragan 180.973
    #14-Stewart 180.800
    #99-Edwards 180.691
    #5-Martin 180.659
    #24-Gordon 180.320
    slowest: #60-Bodine 174.613 & #37-Raines 173.369
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run on the Auto Club Practice Speeds Page.(3-26-2011)

  • First Saturday practice for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway is over, the top five and some notes:
    #29-Harvick 181.146
    #11-Hamlin 180.841
    #99-Edwards 180.591
    #18-Busch 180.307
    #24-Gordon 180.212
    slowest: #34-Gilliland 174.723 & #37-Raines 171.940.
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run on the Auto Club Practice Speeds Page.(3-25-2011)

  • Paint Schemes added: Twenty-Four haulers from Bristol; and from Auto Club, added: #00 Aaron's 2010 Partner of the Year - HP; #09-Thank a Teacher Today, #22-Auto Club of California, #29-Jimmy John's, #33-Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration, #36 Accell Construction, #38 Long John Silver's, #39-U.S. Army's Partnership for Youth Success, #60-Big Red Soda and #71-Ecofuel Saver to the Paint Scheme Gallery.

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #42-Montoya chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #11-Hamlin took pit stall 12A, the next stall with an opening in front of it.
    #20-Logano, who starts 3rd took the 26th pit stall, the next stall with an opening in front of it.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #17-Kenseth, who starts 11th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-26-2011)

  • The numbers for the Auto Club 400 at Fontana:
    2 -races won from the front row at Auto Club Speedway; one from the pole
    4 -number of drivers that have competed in all 21 races at ACS (Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Joe Nemechek)
    4 -fewest cautions for a Sprint Cup race at (6/22/97)
    8 -number of jet dryers available for track drying during race weekend
    9 -most wins by a car owner in previous 21 races (Rick Hendrick)
    12 -most cautions (2/24/08)
    13 -different winners in previous 21 races
    14 -different pole winners
    18 -fewest lead changes (twice, most recent 2/26/06)
    22 -fewest caution laps (twice, most recent 4/30/00)
    33 -most lead changes (2/24/08)
    51 -most caution laps (9/5/04)
    120 -minutes, the amount of time it takes to dry the .533-mile track after a significant rainfall
    188.245 -mph, track qualifying record (Kyle Busch, 1/25/05)
    1995 -year track construction began on site of the former Kaiser Steel Mill and completed in 1996
    1997 -year first Sprint Cup race held at the track (6/22/97)
    2008 -year facility name changed from California Speedway to Auto Club Speedway
    BONUS: Although only two tracks currently host NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, 15 California tracks have hosted a total of 129 Sprint Cup races over the years. Riverside International Raceway had the most - 48 - with the last event in 1988. Only Riverside, Ontario Motor Speedway (nine) and the two tracks currently on the Sprint Cup schedule - Auto Club Speedway (21) and Infineon Raceway (22) - have hosted more than six Cup races.
    (Darnell Communications/Dodge)(3-26-2011)

  • Roush Fenway has no plans to put Bayne in All-Star Race: [Roush Fenway President Steve ] Newmark is optimistic regarding the promise of his Nationwide Series racers Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse. He's watched both youngsters mature over the past year. Despite Bayne's uncertainty regarding a sponsored ride in the All-Star race, Newmark says there are no current plans to provide their driver with a car. "It's not anything we've had discussions about," Newmark said. "We're focused on having Trevor run in Nationwide and try to compete with he and Ricky to win the championship. We're hopeful that the Wood Brothers will figure out a way to get Trevor in the All-Star race, but we haven't had any discussions about putting him in any of our vehicles."(Fox Sports), see earlier infomation about Wood Brothers not running the All-Star Race on my #21 team page.(3-26-2011)

  • TRG switching manufacturers? UPDATES: Hearing that the #71 TRG Motorsports team will be switching manufacturers from Chevy to Ford. The team will make the switch starting at Texas after running Chevy at Auto Club Speedway with Andy Lally, then with Hermie Sadler at Martinsville.(3-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Team owner Kevin Buckler confirmed that a deal has been in the works for more than a month to acquire new cars from Roush-Fenway Racing and engines from Roush Yates Racing Engines, beginning at Texas Motor Speedway April 9. "When we first came to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, we were faced with the daunting task of competing at the highest level of NASCAR, and doing it on a budget," explained Buckler in an exclusive Sirius Speedway interview. "At first, our goal was to survive and qualify for races. In time, we were able to raise our sights and shoot for a spot in the Top 35. But ultimately, we are here because we want to win. We don't want to spend our time racing against the bottom 15 teams every week," he said. "We've been winners in every form of racing we have ever tackled, and we want to be a winner in NASCAR. To do that, we need new, state-of-the-art cars and engines; equipment as good as anyone else out there has." Buckler said TRG will campaign new cars as part of a "light technological support program" with Roush Fenway Racing and new Ford FR9 powerplants from Roush Yates Engines. "My partners and I are going to have to shoulder a heavier financial load to do this, and we could not have done this without the support of our sponsor, Super Eco Fuel Saver. But it's time for us to take a big step up and see if we can compete at this level.(Sirius Speedway)(3-23-2011)
    UPDATE 2: Team owner Kevin Buckler confirmed that starting at Texas Motor Speedway his TRG Motorsports Sprint Cup Team will run Ford Fusions supplied by Roush Fenway Racing with engines provided by Roush/Yates Engines. "We are excited to be partnering with Roush Fenway and getting some new equipment in the TRG Motorsports stable," said Kevin Buckler, team owner. "It has been a long few years in figuring out our best options to succeed in NASCAR and we have a golden opportunity to really improve our performance with some shiny new equipment and some technical support. The Fords are on a roll right now and Roush Fenway does it right. A partnership with them and with Roush/Yates Engines will be an outstanding package for our team. We are confident that fielding Ford Fusions will add to the success of our organization and the competitiveness of our performance on the race track." TRG Motorsport's move to Ford follows a three-year campaign in which the team fielded Chevy. "Chevy, RCR and ECR have been great partners for our team and on behalf of TRG Motorsports, I'd like to thank everyone at GM Racing for their dedication and support," Buckler said.(TRG)(3-26-2011)

  • Johnson to appear on Fox's "Breaking In!": Don’t expect five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to quit his day job any time soon. But Johnson’s return to Southern California on Wednesday presented the perfect opportunity to test his acting chops for an upcoming episode of FOX’s "Breaking In!" The 35-year-old El Cajon native played himself in the storyline, which will air on April 20. “There’s a situation that we have as a race team and the show is based on this,” Johnson said. “Christian Slater runs and owns this investigative service company and we have some issues on our team and we need their help. I go in and talk to his group and go through some things, get some help and they help us solve our problem."(Fox Sports)(3-26-2011)

  • Jeff Gordon appears on Ellen DeGeneres show and talks about his daughter becoming a race car driver:
    Ellen: I heard that Ella told you she wants to be a racecar driver?
    Jeff: I get asked this all the time. Do you want your daughter to be a racecar driver? I just want to approach it the same way that my parents approached it with me and my sister. Whatever opportunities or passions you see as a parent your kids interested in, pursue that and see where that takes them. That's what happened with me. We found racing at a young age. My parents introduced me to it and it just took off. I hadn't thought about it a whole lot, certainly with my daughter, and we were driving down the road the other day and out of nowhere, she said, "Papa, I want to be a racecar driver." And I said, "You do? Why do you want to be a racecar driver?" [She said] "Because I love you." It just crushed me and at the same time, I thought, "Oh, now I'm going to have to get a racecar." Laughs.(Ellen DeGeneres Show PR)(3-26-2011)

  • Stewart Gets ‘Wild’ at the Oakland Zoo: #14-Tony Stewart traded his race suit for a zoo-keeper’s uniform during a behind-the-scenes experience at the Oakland Zoo on Thursday. Stewart, who was in the Bay Area in advance of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway (June 24-26), had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up-close and personal with Osh, an 11,000 pound, 16-year-old male elephant. Working alongside Elephant Manager Jeff Kinzley, Stewart helped complete some of the daily care for Osh, including a “pedicure,” mouth check and feeding him lunch. Osh even kicked off the countdown to race weekend by passing Stewart the official green flag. “That’s a pretty incredible animal, and this is like nothing I’ve ever done,” said Stewart. “It didn’t take long to realize how much respect you have to have for that animal.” Elephant Manager Jeff Kinzley said of Stewart, “Tony was a true star with Osh, just like he is on the track.” Stewart also had the chance to interact with some of the zoo’s other popular attractions, including a skink, tortoise and a 48-pound Columbian red-tail boa, before participating in a Q&A with media members and fans.
    More than 100 fans came out to see Stewart, who also unveiled the new Trackside with Tony ticket package for race weekend. This package includes Saturday and Sunday race tickets for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, plus a Q&A with Stewart in the Club 7 hospitality area, for just $114. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation. Stewart, who has posted two wins in Sonoma (2002, ’05), returns to Northern California in June for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Tickets, including the Trackside with Tony package, are available by calling 800-870-RACE or at www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(3-26-2011)

  • Molly Ringwald named Honorary Starter of California Nationwide Race: Actress Molly Ringwald will serve as Honorary Starter for the Royal Purple 300 NNS race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 26. As Honorary Starter, Ringwald will wave the green flag to get the Royal Purple 300 underway. Race fans can also watch Ringwald on the breakout hit "The Secret Life of the American Teenager", which airs on Mondays at 8/7c on ABC Family. In addition to being an actress and author, Ringwald recently finished recording her first album with her jazz band which they hope to release in 2011.(ACS)(3-26-2011)

  • Trace Adkins to perform National Anthem at Martinsville: Multi-platinum and multi-talented recording artist Trace Adkins will perform the national anthem prior to the Goody's Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway on April 3. Adkins is a fervent race fan, who not only is a regular at tracks, but has sponsored cars and actually sponsored a 300-lap Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2003.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-26-2011)


    News from March 25, 2011

  • Montoya wins Auto Club pole: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya won the Coors Light pole for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway with a speed of 184.653mph. It is his 1st pole of the season and the 6th of his career. #11-Hamlin starts 2nd followed by #20-Logano, #78-Smith, #14-Stewart, #6-Ragan, #31-Burton, #18-Busch, #39-Newman, and #5-Martin.
    The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #13-Mears, #09-Cassill, #26-Blaney, #66-McDowell, #32-Schrader, #87-Nemechek, #60-Bodine, and #46-Yeley.
    The go-or-go homers who failed to qualify for the race (0): none
    See the starting lineup, qualifying speeds and notes on my Auto Club Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page. (3-25-2011)

  • Qualifying Fast Facts - Auto Club:
    Juan Pablo Montoya won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 15th Annual Auto Club 400 with a lap of 38.992 seconds, 184.653 mph.
    This is his sixth pole in 150 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. His last pole was at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2010.
    This is his first pole and first top-10 start in 2011.
    This is his first pole in nine races at Auto Club Speedway. He has four consecutive top-5 starts including second for last year's spring race.
    Denny Hamlin (second) posted his first top-10 start of 2011 and his fifth in 11 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Joey Logano (third) posted his third top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. It is his third in five races this season.
    Andy Lally (38th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-25-2011)

  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway is scheduled for Friday, March 25, 2011 at 8:10pm/et.
    Television (TV): SPEED, 8:00pm/et
    Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 128, via nascar.com only
    Jayski.com: Jayski's Auto lLub Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: on SPEED at 10:30pm/et

  • Qualifying Order for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is posted. 43 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done.
    The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #37-Raines.
    The final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #00-Reutimann.
    The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #60-Bodine with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #09-Cassill.
    Qualifying order is set by practice speeds, with the top 35 drivers going out from slowest to fastest, then the non-top 35 drivers go out, slowest to fastest from practice.
    See the full qualifying order on the Auto Club Qualifying Page.(3-25-2011)

  • Friday practice for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway is over, the top five and some notes:
    #00-Reutimann 186.143
    #11-Hamlin 184.886
    #16-Biffle 184.658
    #2-Keselowski 184.625
    #1-McMurray 183.983
    slowest: #60-Bodine 177.000 & #37-Raines 175.743
    incident: #18-Busch wrecked off turn 4 after hitting some water on the track and will have to go to a backup car.
    notes: the beginning of practice was delayed for 2 hours after morning rain and "weepers" in turn 1 & 2 had to be dried. The practice lasted 45 minutes.
    qualifying order: qualifying order will be set how a driver practices, the top 35 first, slowest first to fastest, then the go-or-go homers after, slowest to fastest.
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run on the Auto Club Practice Speeds Page.(3-25-2011)

  • Practice rank for the non top-35 drivers:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #09-Landon Cassill, 23rd
    #13-Casey Mears, 37th
    #32-Mike Skinner, 38th
    #36-Dave Blaney, 33rd
    #46-J.J. Yeley, 34th
    #60-Landon Cassill, 41st
    #66-Michael McDowell, 42nd
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 40th

  • Gunselman managing #37 team: From the Front Row Motorsports Facebook page, "The #37 car is now managed by Larry Gunselman in a partnership between Front Row Motorsports and Larry's Max Q Motorsports team. The team will have a more formal announcement coming with more information about plans moving forward."(3-25-2011)

  • Marine to Serve as Honorary Pit Crew Member for Kenseth: As race fans gear up for the first and only NASCAR race in Fontana this season at Auto Club Speedway, the drivers aren't the only famous faces to keep an eye on. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Matthew Hansen will get his first shot at NASCAR fame as he serves as an honorary pit crew member of the # 17 Crown Royal Ford driven by Matt Kenseth. Crown Royal and Kenseth will roll out the purple carpet for the local California Marine who was recently awarded naming rights to the Sprint Cup Series race in Richmond, Va. The April 30th race will be named Crown Royal Presents the Matthew & Daniel Hansen 400 in honor of Matthew and his fallen twin brother Daniel - also a Marine. Daniel was killed while serving in Afghanistan on Feb. 14, 2009. The brothers enlisted within weeks of each other and despite losing his brother in service; Matthew continues to proudly serve our country. Since Matthew was unable to attend the unveiling ceremony in Daytona, he will experience royal treatment for his first-ever NASCAR experience at his hometown race.(Roush Fenway)(3-25-2011)

  • Sad News - Ben Arnold: Ben Arnold, 74, passed away March 20, 2011. He was a member of Numerous Automobile Clubs. He was a former Grand National Stock Car Driver [Now Sprint Cup], and part of the Alabama Gang. He retired from Dana Automotive. He still holds the Track Record at Talladega International Speedway for qualifying backward at 178 mph. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Tabbie Arnold; special sons, Rooster Killian and Mike Capps and numerous friends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Edgewater Baptist Church (Birmingham News). Arnold ran 132 Cup races from 1968-1973 with 21 Top-10's his best were three 6th place finishes.(3-25-2011)

  • Howie Mandel named Grand Marshal for Fontana NNS race: Howie Mandel, judge of "America's Got Talent" and host of game-show "Deal or No Deal" will serve as Grand Marshal for NASCAR's NNS Series race - the Royal Purple 300 - at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 26. As Grand Marshal, Mandel will give the most famous command in racing, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines." Mandel is the host and executive producer of the upcoming Fox special MOBBED, an unscripted show that puts a hidden-camera spin on the "flash mob" concept. And, this summer he returns as a judge on NBC's hit talent competition series "America's Got Talent" alongside Sharon Osborne and Piers Morgan. Mandel recently received an Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Reality/Competition Host" for "Deal or No Deal" and a Daytime Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Game Show Host" for the syndicated version of the show.(ACS)(3-25-2011)

  • David Archuleta performing National Anthem at Fontana NNS race: Auto Club Speedway announced that American Idol Season 7 finalist David Archuleta will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the Royal Purple 300 NNS race at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, March 26. Archuleta's rendition of the National Anthem and the Royal Purple 300 will broadcast live on ESPN at 2:30 p.m. PT. Following American Idol, Archuleta released "Crush," the first single from his self-titled debut album, which charted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of its 2008 release and has since sold over two million downloads.(ACS)(3-25-2011)


    News from March 24, 2011

  • Smaller restrictor plate for Dega: Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have been notified that they will be using a 7/8 inch diameter restrictor plate in next month’s event at Talladega. That represents a 1/64 reduction from what was used in the season-opening Daytona 500. Cooling system regulations will remain the same as at Daytona, with maximum air inlets mandated at three inches high by 20 inches wide.(Sirius Speedway)(3-24-2011)

  • Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration on the #33: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's Centennial Celebration and the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma will be the primary sponsors of Richard Childress Racing's #33 Chevy that Clint Bowyer will drive in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. The Ronald Reagan Centennial is a historic, year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 40th President of the United States of America. A series of substantive and celebratory events, partnerships and initiatives sponsored by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation are planned throughout 2011. Future announcements including a second phase of RCR's involvement with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Mike Curb will be forthcoming. Cheerios and BB&T, the #33 team's primary sponsors for the majority of the season, will also have prominent identification on the car.(RCR)(3-24-2011)

  • Kurt Busch assisting motorists Thursday: #22-Kurt Busch will actually be out on the roadways assisting stranded motorists on Thursday afternoon. "This was a great idea and it struck a nerve personally," said Busch. "It all came about when we were in California a few months back for a commercial shoot. We were having dinner with all the guys with the AAA team and they were explaining about their roadside assistance program. I couldn't help but think about when I was a kid growing up and our family traveled to so many races. My dad had the parts business and it seemed like our lives revolved around automobiles and transportation. When we traveled around to the races, we'd always pull over and help stranded motorists change tires, get fuel - even try to help them out with mechanical issues. I can really relate to this and I am really looking forward to getting out there and helping the folks out on the highways near the track on Thursday. And since my guys also sponsor Sunday's race, we might even be able to put smiles on these motorists' faces by giving away a few tickets to Sunday's race. We will have fun with it, I can guarantee you that."(Tom Roberts PR)(3-24-2011)

  • Milestone start for Montoya: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will be making his 150th career Sprint Cup start at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Montoya's first start was in 2006 with Chip Ganassi Racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In just four full time seasons, Montoya has recorded two wins, fives poles, 19 top-fives, and 43 top-10 finishes, with Watkins Glen being his most recent win in August of 2010.(Earnhardt-Ganassi PR)(3-24-2011)

  • Lowe's, Johnson celebrating 10 years together: #48-Jimmie Johnson along with crew chief Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports are celebrating 10 years together with sponsor, Lowe's. The longest running partnership currently in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series between driver, crew chief, team and sponsor will be celebrated throughout the year with a variety of events, several geared toward the team's loyal fans. That first win at Johnson's adopted home track of Auto Club Speedway will serve as the official kick off of the 10-year celebration. Fans can relive Johnson's career-changing accomplishments on the Team Lowe's Racing fan page on Facebook under a special "Celebrating 10 Years" section. During weekend activities in California, Johnson will debut a specially-designed race helmet which he will wear throughout the year. Johnson, who collaborates with Nevada-based artist Jason Beam on the design of his helmets, worked with Lowe's on the helmet's retrospective look. It features historical Lowe's photos including the first store location in North Wilkesboro, N.C., as well as other original store sites from the 1950s and 1960s. Currently in its 10th full season in the Sprint Cup Series, Johnson and team have amassed a record of 53 wins, 136 top-five and 205 top-10 finishes. Johnson currently ranks 10th on the all-time win list, one victory behind driver Lee Petty. Knaus is the only crew chief to win three consecutive championships in the series.(HMS)(3-24-2011)

  • Jeremey Mayfield files appeal: Jeremy Mayfield has reiterated claims that NASCAR Chairman Brian France disliked him and that NASCAR either fabricated the results of a May 2009 drug test or should have known the likelihood of inaccurate results, according to Mayfield's appeal in his long-running federal lawsuit against NASCAR. Filed late Tuesday night with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Mayfield's appeal challenges the May 2010 ruling in favor of NASCAR and asks that the case be re-opened, allowing more time for investigation by the parties and proceeding toward trial. NASCAR has until April 25 to respond to the appeal, and Mayfield will have two weeks to respond to NASCAR's brief. The appeals court - the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, Va. - will not hold hearings from June-August, so the earliest the appeals judges would hold a hearing likely is late September, with a decision on the appeal not coming for at least another month.(Scene Daily)(3-24-2011)

  • Sad News - Steve 'Dirt' Masch: from the Rick Ware Racing Facebook page, "With heavy hearts we are saddened by the loss of Steve 'Dirt' Masch [Wednesday]". On March 11, Dean Shaut, lost control of his vehicle while driving on Ball Park Road in Thomasville, NC and was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger Stephen Masch was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. where he was treated until succumbing to his injuries. Both men were independent contractors for Rick Ware Racing.(3-24-2011)

  • Richmond to Host 2011 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: Richmond International Raceway and Chesterfield, Virginia's Denny Hamlin are joining forces to run the fourth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to benefit the Denny Hamlin Foundation on Thursday night, April 28 at America's Premier Short Track. The event will feature several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and celebrities battling it out on the ¾-mile track with some of the best local Late Model Stock Car drivers. The addition of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway means the race weekend will now feature four events for race fans to enjoy. The charity race will be a one-day show, featuring practice and qualifying prior to the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. The Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will run immediately following the Blue Ox 100, making for an exciting Thursday at Richmond International Raceway. Tickets are available now for the excitement on Thursday, April 28th. All seats are general admission and $25. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. Tickets include the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race and Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown.(RIR)(3-24-2011)


    News from March 23, 2011

  • TRG switching manufacturers? UPDATE: Hearing that the #71 TRG Motorsports team will be switching manufacturers from Chevy to Ford. The team will make the switch starting at Texas after running Chevy at Auto Club Speedway with Andy Lally, then with Hermie Sadler at Martinsville.(3-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Team owner Kevin Buckler confirmed that a deal has been in the works for more than a month to acquire new cars from Roush-Fenway Racing and engines from Roush Yates Racing Engines, beginning at Texas Motor Speedway April 9. "When we first came to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, we were faced with the daunting task of competing at the highest level of NASCAR, and doing it on a budget," explained Buckler in an exclusive Sirius Speedway interview. "At first, our goal was to survive and qualify for races. In time, we were able to raise our sights and shoot for a spot in the Top 35. But ultimately, we are here because we want to win. We don't want to spend our time racing against the bottom 15 teams every week," he said. "We've been winners in every form of racing we have ever tackled, and we want to be a winner in NASCAR. To do that, we need new, state-of-the-art cars and engines; equipment as good as anyone else out there has." Buckler said TRG will campaign new cars as part of a "light technological support program" with Roush Fenway Racing and new Ford FR9 powerplants from Roush Yates Engines. "My partners and I are going to have to shoulder a heavier financial load to do this, and we could not have done this without the support of our sponsor, Super Eco Fuel Saver. But it's time for us to take a big step up and see if we can compete at this level.(Sirius Speedway)(3-23-2011)

  • National Speed Sport News to cease publication: All good things come to an end. And so is the case for America's Motorsports Authority, National Speed Sport News. After more than 76 years, the publication, which was first published as National Auto Racing News on Aug. 16, 1934, has printed its last issue, dated - March 23, 2011. While hundreds of other newspapers came and went during the past three-quarters of a century, NSSN continued to ride the support of its readers and advertisers in producing the most thorough weekly racing publication on the market. But economic times have been tight and the newspaper business has suffered at the hands of high production costs and modern technology, which provides information to readers instantly.
    "This is one of the saddest days of my life," said National Speed Sport News Publisher Corinne Economaki. "The sluggish economy has made it too difficult to continue publication and no matter how I try to make the numbers work - and believe me I have tried - it is just not feasible to keep the business going. For 76 years, since August 1934 when my father Chris sold copies of the first issue at Ho-Ho-Kus Speedway in northern New Jersey, to today, as I oversee the very last copy printed, this paper has been an integral part of my family," Corinne Economaki said.
    Through the years National Speed Sport News was the industry leader in covering motorsports, much of it thanks to [hero of Jayski] Chris Economaki, 90, who sold the first issue of NSSN at Ho-Ho-Kus Speedway in New Jersey, and began writing for the publication soon after that and became editor in 1950. Economaki saw the publication through its glory days, launching a career on television and taking his newspaper into thousands of homes across America. In a time when there was no Internet and very little racing was on television or radio, National Speed Sport News thrived.
    When National Speed Sport News began its run, there were no seat belts, drivers wore leather helmets and the flathead Ford V8 was one of the most common racing engines. Today, safety is the utmost concern and HANS and other safety devices are all the rage. Fuel-injected engines are everywhere. Not only has technology changed what fans see at the race track, it changed how NSSN gathered the news. In the early years most news arrived at the NSSN office by mail or telephone. Later the telecopier and the fax machine played key roles. Both were replaced by the computer modem and later by e-mail. NSSN was printed by linotype, but later changed to phototypesetting and finally went completely digital in 2002. But after enduring all these changes, a familiar friend will no longer appear at the mailboxes of its loyal readers. NationalSpeedSportNews.com, the online version of the newspaper, will continue to be updated with daily news, giving Internet savvy readers the opportunity to keep up with some of the same news they enjoyed every week. But as far as the newspaper goes, it's the end of an era.(National Speed Sport News)(3-23-2011)

  • Chapprood to serve as interim crew chief at TRG: Paul Chapprood will serve as the interim crew chief at Auto Club Speedway, where rookie contender Andy Lally will drive the #71 car. Chapprood replaces Jay Guy, who has joined Travis Kvapil’s Front Row Motorsports team beginning this weekend.(Fox Sports)(3-23-2011)

  • Auto Club on the #22 this weekend: The “Double-Deuce” Dodge team will be running their Auto Club colors for the first time this season in this weekend’s action at Auto Club Speedway and driver Kurt Busch is certainly excited. “Right now, the most important race we’re facing is this weekend’s Auto Club 400 at Fontana,” Busch said. “It’s especially big on our radar screen because we’re bringing out the blue, red and white Auto Club colors for our Penske Racing Dodge Charger for the first time this season. With the track and the race carrying their name, the expectations for the Auto Club Dodge will certainly be high. We hope to have a super-competitive Auto Club Dodge Charger at Fontana this weekend and keep our momentum building with another solid performance. It’d be really cool to see our Auto Club Dodge in Victory Lane after winning the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. It couldn’t get any better than that.”(Tom Roberts PR)(3-23-2011)

  • Part owner of Roush Fenway changes name: The parent company that owned the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC and half of Roush Fenway Racing has changed its name to Fenway Sports Group. The umbrella group owned primarily by John W. Henry and Tom Werner was formerly known as New England Sports Ventures. Company officials said it was assuming a new corporate name to better reflect its reach into NASCAR and English Premier League soccer. Fenway Sports Group had been the name of NESV's marketing arm. It will now go by Fenway Sports Management.(Associated Press)(3-23-2011)

  • New Gasman staying with Biffle's team: Brian Carr who served as the gasman for the #16 3M team in Bristol will also be fueling the car this weekend in California. Carr is also the gasman for the #6 Nationwide team at Roush Fenway Racing.(RFR)(3-23-2011)

  • Pit Crew Challenge tickets on sale Wednesday: Tickets for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, featuring a family-friendly, pit-crew competition between the top-24 Sprint Cup Series pit crews, go on sale Wednesday. Tickets may be purchased online at www.pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling the Time Warner Cable Arena box office at (800) 745-3000 with prices starting at $15. Tickets for children two to 12 cost $7.50 each. The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge will take place Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m. ET at Time Warner Cable Arena and will air on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET that evening. To qualify for the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, teams must be eligible for the All-Star Race or be the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge champion. All-Star Race eligibility includes all Cup race winners from 2010 and 2011, All-Star Race winners from the past 10 years and Cup Series champions from the past 10 years who are active drivers and have competed in at least one series event during the 2010 or 2011 season. Remaining unfilled positions will become available to the car owners ranked highest in the 2011 Cup Series owner point standings as of May 17. The following teams are currently eligible: #00 Toyota, # 1 Chevy, # 4 Toyota, #5 Chevy, #11 Toyota, # 14 Chevy, # 16 Ford, # 17 Ford, # 18 Toyota, # 21 Ford, No. 22 Dodge, #24 Chevy, #29 Chevy, # 33 Chevy, # 39 Chevy, # 42 Chevy, # 48 Chevy, and #99 Ford.(ASPIRE Communications)(3-23-2011)

  • Richard Marx to sing National Anthem for Auto Club 400: Singer-songwriter Richard Marx, who has sold over 30 million albums and written thirteen #1 hits, will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. For more than two decades, Richard Marx has made an indelible mark on the music community and remained a fixture on pop and adult contemporary radio for years as an artist and producer working with some of the biggest names in the music business. Since his career began in 1987, Marx has made a commitment to giving back. He has performed benefit concerts for many organizations, including the TJ Martell Foundation, Toys For Tots, Make A Wish Foundation, the American Cancer Society, Best Buddies, and the Special Olympics. For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway ticket office.(ACS)(3-23-2011)

  • Sugar Ray Leonard name Honorary Starter at Auto Club Speedway: Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard will serve as Honorary Starter for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 27. As Honorary Starter, Leonard will wave the green flag to get the Auto Club 400 underway. Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the legendary sports icons of the 20th century whose very name epitomizes boxing and conjures the image of a champion. In 1976 Leonard took the boxing gold medal home in the Olympic Games and won his inaugural fight as a professional the following year. In addition to the middleweight title, Leonard went on to win welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight titles.(ACS)(3-23-2011)


    News from March 22, 2011

  • TRG switching manufacturers? Hearing that the #71 TRG Motorsports team will be switching manufacturers from Chevy to Ford. The team will make the switch starting at Texas after running Chevy at Auto Club Speedway with Andy Lally, then with Hermie Sadler at Martinsville.(3-22-2011)

  • Cassill to drive the #09 at Auto Club: Landon Cassill will return to the driver’s seat of the team’s Sprint Cup car, the #09 Chevy, beginning this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Team owner James Finch said he appreciates the contributions of Bill Elliott, who drove the #09 car in the first four Sprint Cup races of 2011 and helped the team achieve its goal of locking in a spot among the top 35 in car owner points, which assures starting positions for upcoming races. With one race remaining before the switch to this year’s points, Phoenix is 26th in the standings, with a comfortable margin over the 36th-place team. “I am very thankful for what Bill has done for my team and sponsors to date, and we look forward to him running races later on this season," Finch said. In the meantime, Elliott plans to focus on working with his 15-year-old son Chase, who recently signed a driver agreement with Sprint Cup team owner Rick Hendrick.(Phoenix PR/Bill Elliott site), no word who will drive the #60 Toyota that Cassill was listed to drive at Auto Club.(3-22-2011)
    UPDATE: Todd Bodine will drive the #60 Toyota for Germain.(3-22-2011)

  • Kurt Busch tests at Gresham: #22-Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led "Double-Deuce" Dodge team tested Tuesday at Gresham Motorsports Park, the half-mile oval asphalt track located near Jefferson, Ga. "We had originally scheduled the test last week, but the weather didn't cooperate," crew chief Addington said. "We'll be using the day to shake down the car we'll be racing at Martinsville. We did the same last year and it proved beneficial in getting to the race track ready to get after it. We'll get out there and check out the brakes, the suspension components and all. The goal is just to get the driver really comfortable behind the wheel of this car." The team will be testing with a new Dodge Charger - their "PRS-741" - on the track known as "Georgia's fastest short track."(Tom Roberts PR)(3-22-2011)

  • New crew chief for Kvapil: UPDATE: Derrick Finley, Front Row Motorsports competition director, is the interim crew chief for #38-Travis Kvapil until a replacement is named as crew chief Bill Henderson left the team.(FRM)(3-19-2011)
    UPDATE: Travis Kvapil heads to the West Coast this week with confidence his Long John Silver's Ford will be stronger at Auto Club Speedway this season. He'll also go with a new crew chief, with Jay Guy coming on board to lead the #38 team. Guy is a veteran in the NASCAR garage, having worked with teams such as Penske Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Wood Brothers and others.(FRM/Breaking Limits)(3-22-2011)

  • Newman's Chevy to Pay Tribute to Army's Partnership for Youth Success: Ryan Newman's #39 U.S. Army Chevy at this weekend's Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway will pay tribute to the Army's Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS), a program which gives Soldiers from the Army and Army Reserve a leg up on civilian employment. Under the PaYS program, when a Soldier leaves active-duty or Initial Entry Training (IET) for the Army Reserve, they will receive a guaranteed job interview with the civilian employer they chose as part of their enrollment in the program. Currently, there are approximately 400 companies participating in PaYS, more than 50 of which are Fortune 500 companies. The logos for PaYS and Haas Automation, a new partner to the PaYS program, will be featured on the hood of Newman's Chevy. Haas Automation, which is based in Oxnard, Calif., is America's leading builder of CNC machine tools and co-owner of the Stewart-Haas Racing team. The company was founded by Gene Haas in 1983. Haas Automation will receive its PaYS certification during an Army ceremony at Auto Club Speedway. More than 18,000 Soldiers are enrolled in the PaYS program for fiscal year 2011 and more than 120,000 Soldiers have taken part in PaYS since the program's inception in 2000.(US Army Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #39 Team Schemes page.(3-22-2011)

  • Geoff Bodine looking for a ride: Geoff Bodine, who raced in one event last season, is wanting to return to any of the three NASCAR national touring series. "I've been trying to get a ride and a sponsor, but I've had no luck. I've talked with Tommy Baldwin [#36 Chevy in Sprint Cup]. He has really good equipment I've also talked with a Nationwide [Series] team, but you need money to go racing." Bodine, now age 62, said he is actively trying to find a way back into NASCAR. "I still think I can go out there and be competitive. If I didn't feel that way, I would not want to look bad and ruin my reputation. I'd like to be the oldest winner in NASCAR." Despite being out of the sport for almost a year now, Bodine had been keeping himself busy. "I have raced a little, but not enough," stated Bodine. Bodine also said that he has done some charity work for Breast Cancer Awareness and the Chamber of Commerce Fireball Run for Melbourne, Florida. On top of those two activities, Bodine says that he plans to run a Wheelen Modified race this year at North Wilkesboro with Danny Bagwell. In addition to the above, Bodine says that he will be opening a new store down the road called Geoff Bodine Power Sports—which will sell motorcycles, accessories, and boats. Bodine also tries to alert people about the lack of nutrition in the foods we eat. "I have to programs called Protandim and Mona-Die. They are fantastic programs. It's helping a bunch of people."(TheRacingExperts)(3-22-2011)

  • Ragan to visit Shriners Hospitals for Children: David Ragan named Shriners Hospitals for Children his charity of choice in 2008 and has continued to support their great cause over the years in everything that he does. One highlight of Ragan's relationship with the Shriners is getting a chance to visit the different hospitals and get a firsthand look at the innovative medical advances that the Shriners are doing to help children in need. On his way out to Auto Club Speedway on Thursday, March 24th Ragan will make a stop in Los Angeles to visit with the children at the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Ragan will take a tour and spend the afternoon participating in a racing-themed day with the children and their families. Ragan has started the process to become a Shriner himself and though he hasn't officially been inducted he has done a lot with the organization over the years.(Roush Fenway Racing)(3-22-2011)

  • NC Judge denies Red Bull request to toss Speed's lawsuit: A North Carolina judge has allowed Scott Speed to proceed with his $6.5 million lawsuit against Red Bull Racing as she denied the race team's request to make a judgment based solely on what each side has presented in court without any investigation into Speed's claims. Judge Sharon Barrett's ruling came after a 35-minute hearing Monday in North Carolina Superior Court. She denied Red Bull's argument that it could release Speed for not meeting the performance clause in his contract that states if he didn't finish 15th in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series standings he could be fired. Speed filed the lawsuit Dec. 10 after he was fired by the team following his second season in Cup. In the lawsuit, Speed claimed that Red Bull did not fund the team as necessary to compete at the Cup level nor did it put forth the required technological resources for him to have a competitive car.(SceneDaily)(3-22-2011)

  • Three drivers dominate the short tracks: With his win Sunday at Bristol, #18-Kyle Busch remained a part of an exclusive group. Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to have won the last 15 Sprint Cup races at Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond, the circuit's lone short tracks. The last driver other then those three to win on a short track was #99-Carl Edwards in 2008.(Sports Illustrated)(3-22-2011)

  • At Auto Club Speedway:
    · Groundbreaking for California Speedway, as Auto Club Speedway was originally known, took place in November 1995.
    · The first race at Auto Club Speedway was a NASCAR K&N Pro Series, West race won by Ken Schrader on June 21, 1997.
    · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 22, 1997 and won by Jeff Gordon.
    · September 2004 was the first night race at Auto Club Speedway and that also was the first year both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series ran two races in a season there.
    · The track name was changed to Auto Club Speedway in February 2008.
    · There have been 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway since the track opened in 1997.
    · Four drivers have competed in all 21 races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Joe Nemechek.
    · Joe Nemechek won the pole for the inaugural race in 1997.
    · There have been 14 different pole winners, led by Kurt Busch (three). Brian Vickers, Jamie McMurray and Jeff Gordon each have two poles.
    · Thirteen different drivers have posted victories. Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with five wins. Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth each have won three races.
    · Hendrick Motorsports has won nine races, more than any other team.
    · Ten of the 21 races were won from starting positions outside the top 10; only one has been won from the pole (Jimmie Johnson in 2008). The most prolific starting position is third, with three victories.
    · Matt Kenseth won the 2006 spring race from the 31st starting position, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started.
    · Two active drivers have averaged a top-10 finish: Jimmie Johnson (5.3) and Carl Edwards (9.2).
    · Kyle Busch won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole (2/05) and first race (9/05) at Auto Club Speedway.

  • Rick Ware Racing soliciting donations for crewmen: from the Rick Ware Racing Facebook: To donate to the Dean Shaut and Steve Masch families please visit your local SunTrust Bank and mention you would like to donate to the Dean Shaut/Steve Masch Fund. On March 11, Dean Shaut, lost control of his vehicle while driving on Ball Park Road in Thomasville, NC and was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger Stephen Masch was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C., with spinal cord and head injuries and is listed in critical condition. Rick Ware Racing fields entries for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series.(3-22-2011)

  • Christian Slater named Auto Club 400 Grand Marshal: Actor Christian Slater, star of the upcoming FOX comedy "Breaking In", will serve as Grand Marshal for NASCAR's Sprint Cup race – the Auto Club 400 – at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 27. As Grand Marshal, Slater will give the command, "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines," to the 43-car field of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With an impressive career that spans the worlds of film, television and stage, Slater has established himself as one of the most talented actors of his generation. "Breaking In", is an offbeat workplace comedy about a high-tech security firm that takes extreme – and often questionable – measures to sell its protection services. It centers on a team of uniquely skilled oddball geniuses hand-picked to work for OZ (Slater), a larger-than-life head honcho who is a man of mystery and master of manipulation. "Breaking In" premieres Wednesday, April 6 (9:30/8:30c) following "American Idol." For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway ticket office.(ACS)(3-22-2011)

  • Legendary Latin Rock Musicians to perforam at Auto Club Speedway: Newly formed rock group Undercover, will perform on the DiscoverIE FanZone Entertainment Stage prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 race on Sunday, March 27 from 8:30 to 9:15 am at Auto Club Speedway. Undercover band members include legendary Latino rock musicians that have been entertaining fans for years. Lead guitarist, El Vampiro, has been an integral part of Mexico's most popular rock band MANÁ, where he played thousands of sold out shows all over the world. He most recently played with Jaguares, another one of Mexico's widely popular rock bands. Mauricio Claveria, who played drums for the legendary Chilean rock band, LA LEY, showcases his musical passion through his drum skills for Undercover. On the bass guitar, Poncho Toledo is best known for playing with Mexican band La Lupita, a group well known for crossing musical boundaries. Finally, providing the vocals for this powerhouse is Serralde, who began his singing and songwriting career in 2001 with his album titled "No Hay na' Mejor" where it peaked on Billboard's Top 10. In 2005, Serralde released his second album, "Serralde", which topped the charts at #1 in the United States and Puerto Rico.
    In addition to the Latin sounds of Undercover, race fans will be able to enjoy a full weekend of Viva La Fiesta, the Latino festival area located near Gate 14 in the Auto Club Speedway DiscoverIE FanZone. Enjoy great tacos, burritos and salsas from King Taco. Listen to the traditional Mexican melodies of Mariachi Torres de Mexico, a live mariachi band on the Viva La Fiesta stage throughout the weekend. For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway ticket office.(ACS)(3-22-2011)

  • Darlington and NASCAR Hall of Fame partner for ticket package: Darlington Raceway and the NASCAR Hall of Fame have partnered to bring fans a special ticket package for the Showtime Southern 500, honoring 2011 Hall of Fame inductees and South Carolina natives David Pearson and Bud Moore.
    Each package includes a seat in the Pearson grandstand for the Showtime Southern 500 on Saturday, May 7, admission to aspecial Q&A session with Pearson and Moore prior to the race, admission to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and a commemorative yearbook honoring – Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Dale Earnhardt – the members of the Inaugural 2010 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Only 500 packages are available and can be purchased by visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com/HallofFame or calling 866-459-RACE. Adult packages can be purchased for $90 each; packages for kids 17 and under are just $50. Tickets can bepurchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(Darlington Raceway)(3-22-2011)


    News from March 21, 2011

  • Bristol overnight TV Ratings down: NASCAR on Fox posted a 3.9/9 Sunday for racing from Bristol. There are two relevant comparisons to last year. Yesterday's race was the fourth Sprint Cup points race of the season, and compared to last year's fourth race yesterday's 3.9/9 is down -19% versus a 4.8/11 for racing from Atlanta. The other comparison is to last year's Bristol race, which was the fifth race of the season and also followed a bye week. Yesterday's 3.9/9 is down -7% compared to last year's Bristol race. The effect of last week's early season bye week, which is always damaging, was even worse than expected this year. Sunday's 3.9/9 is -26% lower than the 5.3/11 that FOX earned for the Las Vegas race that preceded the bye. Last year FOX came out of the bye week with a 4.2/9 for Bristol, which was just -12% lower than the 4.8/11 posted in Atlanta two weeks earlier. Competition from the NCAA Tournament does not appear to have been a major driver of the decline. Although the Tournament was generally stronger this weekend, the two windows that faced the Bristol race were up only +4% over last year (5.8/13 vs. 5.6/13). Despite this week's decline NASCAR is still pacing ahead of last year for the season-to-date. FOX has averaged a 5.7/12 for its first four races, up +10% over last season's 5.2/11. See past TV Ratings, and 4-year comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-21-2011)

  • The Entry List for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is posted, 43 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    Not in top 35 of owners points:
    #09-Bill Elliott (1988 Champ)(26th in 2011 owners pts/4 attempts)
    #13-Casey Mears (35/4)
    #32-Mike Skinner (33/4)
    #36-Dave Blaney (36/4)
    #46-J.J. Yeley (41/4)
    #60-Landon Cassill (44/4)
    #66-Michael McDowell (45/4)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (42/4)
    In the event that all practices and qualifying are all rained out or cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #'s 09,32,13,36,46,87,60,66
    missing the race would be [0]: #'s no driver would miss the race
    See the full entry list at my Jayski's Auto Club Entry List.(3-21-2011)

  • McClure at the track: Larry McClure was back at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday saying hello to some old friends. For two-plus decades, the Southwest Virginia car dealer was the chief figure behind Morgan-McClure Motorsports [#4 Kodak Chevy], one of the top teams in NASCAR racing. Then in 2009, it all came crashing down. McClure was convicted of federal income tax fraud for not reporting $269,000 obtained for the use of cars in the ARCA Series. In addition, he had to repay nearly $60,000 to former team sponsor Eastman Kodak for falsifying an invoice. After serving an 18-month jail sentence, McClure is now back at work, running one of his family's car dealerships. However, the Morgan-McClure race shop, which the #4 Sprint Cup car once raced out of, now has just enough activity to keep the lights on. "I'm just selling cars and running the dealership up at St. Paul," he said. "We're not doing anything at the race shop, but have just a few people to keep the shop going." Over the past couple of years, different Nationwide and Truck Series teams have talked to McClure's business partners about renting the old race shop, but no agreement has been reached. McClure takes it all in stride. During his incarceration, there was plenty of time to reflect on his days in the Cup Series, which started in 1982 after he and business partner Tim Morgan purchased a race car from G.C. Spencer.(Johnson City Press)(3-21-2011)

  • Special sponsor for the #78 at Texas: Furniture Row Racing will carry the "Farm American" theme on the #78 Chevy that Regan Smith drivers at Texas Motor Speedway. Agro Liquid Fertilizer will sponsor the message.(FoxSports)(3-21-2011)

  • Prelude to the Dream in June: The seventh annual Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt Late Model race at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio is slated for June 8, 2011 and just as last year's event benefitted four of the nation's top children's hospitals, the 2011 edition will do the same. BUT it the event has no sponsor and may NOT be held if a sponsor is not found. The Prelude to the Dream is a Dirt Late Model all-star race featuring over 2 dozen NASCAR stars. Tickets go on sale April 4th. For past years results, see my Prelude to the Dream page.(3-21-2011)

  • Busch's one behind Labonte's in wins: With #18-Kyle Busch's win at Bristol, he and brother #22-Kurt Busch are one win behind Terry Labonte [ 22 wins, 2 championships] and #47-Bobby Labonte [21 wins, 1 champ]. Kyle now has 20 wins [the only driver to have at least 20 wins in all three national series] and Kurt has 22. Kurt has a championship while Kyle does not. The Labonte's are 5th in rank of brothers with wins at 43 wins, the Busch's have 42 and are 6th. Bobby and Donnie Allison have the most wins of a brother tandem with 94 [Bobby 84, some historians and Bobby say 85; and Donnie had 10 wins] with Darrell (84) and Michael Waltrip (4) the 2nd most at 88. See the list on my All Time Winners page, full of all kinds of winners stats.(3-21-2011)


    News from March 20, 2011

  • Kyle Busch wins at Bristol: #18-Kyle Busch won the Jeff Byrd 500 presented at Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2010, 20th win of his career and 5th stright at Bristol [2 Cup, 2 NNS & 1 Truck race]. Busch has now won at least one race a season for seven straight seasons.
    #99-Edwards [the pole sitter] finished second followed by #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #27-Menard, #29-Harvick, #22-Busch, #16-Biffle, #4-Kahne and #39-Newman. Points leader going in to the race, #14-Stewart finished 19th.
    There were 17 lead changes among 8 drivers; 10 cautions for 57 yellow flag laps and the attendance is listed as 120,000 down from last years 138,000.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air on SPEED, Wednesday, March 23 at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Bristol Race Results/Awards page.(3-20-2011)

  • Race Fast Facts - Bristol:
    #18-Kyle Busch won the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City, his 20th victory in 226 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2011. His last win also came at Bristol, on Aug. 21, 2010, 15 races ago.
    This is his fifth victory and 10th top-10 finish in 13 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He ties Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon for the Bristol wins lead among active drivers.
    He has now won five consecutive NASCAR national series races at Bristol.
    Busch is the fourth different winners in the first four races this season, first time that time has happened since 2005.
    #99-Carl Edwards (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 14 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2011.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 19 races at Bristol Motor Speedway.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-20-2011)

  • 2011 Sprint Cup Driver Championship Points Standings:
    [after Bristol, race 4 of 36]:
    rank, car#, driver, points, behind
    1) #22-Kurt Busch 150
    2) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win] 149 -1
    3) #14-Tony Stewart 138 -12
    4) #39-Ryan Newman 138 -12
    5) #27-Paul Menard 136 -14
    6) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win] 133 -17
    7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 130 -20
    8) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya 126 -24
    9) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 124 -26
    10) #56-Martin Truex Jr. 123 -27
    11) #5-Mark Martin 123 -27
    12) #4-Kasey Kahne 122 -28
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(3-20-2011)

  • Top-35 in Owner Points with one race to go before 2011 points are used, currently 2010 owners points are used thru the 5th race of the season:
    30) #31-Burton/RCR, 74, +23
    31) #20-Logano/JGR, 74, +23
    32) #83-Vickers/Red Bull, 69, +18
    33) #32-Schrader/FAS Lane, 66, +15
    34) #7-RGordon/RGM, 59, +8
    35) #13-Mears/Germain, 52, 1 point ahead of 36th
    these teams / drivers would need to qualify by speed after race 5:
    36) #36-Blaney/TBR, 51, -1 out of top 35
    37) #37-Raines/Front Row, 50, -2
    38) #71-Lally/TRG, 49, -3
    39) #38-Kvapil/Front Row, 46, -6
    For the first five races of 2011, team are locked in their owners points position by the 2010 final owners points
    For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(3-20-2011)

  • Some Bristol schemes added to the Paint Scheme Gallery including: #'s 09-Thank a Teacher Today, 7, 9, 24, 27, 29, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 42, 46, 47, 60, 66, 71, 87, 88, 92 & 99

  • New tire working good at Bristol: Reaction to the new right-side tires Goodyear introduced to Sprint Cup teams Saturday was mixed, but everyone agreed the biggest concern that forced the change has been fixed. "It lasts," said Mark Martin, who was fastest in the final practice. "There's not as much grip, and handling is not as good, but it will last. That's what we had to have." Goodyear made the decision to change early Friday because the new, softer compound brought to the half-mile track was severely chording, to the point the tires were wearing out in 25 to 30 laps -- far less than the 135 laps needed for a full fuel run. The right-side combination also was not rubbering up the track properly. "The track obviously is taking on more rubber," Goodyear's Rick Heinrich said after practice. "The tire wear projects to a full fuel run." Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, was happy with the new tires that produced speeds of about half a second slower. "It's fine," he said. "It's a little bit different, but the important thing is we're in a position now to react faster than ever before." Heinrich said each team will have one set of tires made in February 2010 and eight sets made in September 2010. Most teams didn't practice with the new tires until late in Saturday's second practice. (ESPN)(3-20-2011)

  • Drag racer to start up car at Bristol start/finish line: For the first time, Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing teammates Bob Tasca III and Trevor Bayne will suit up at the same race – Tasca to participate in opening ceremonies, and Bayne to compete in the Jeff Byrd 500 at his home track, Bristol Motor Speedway. Tasca will fire up his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang NHRA Full Throttle Series Funny Car on the start/finish line of the legendary track Sunday morning, after a weekend of appearances at the Ford display, a pace car ride and meetings with media. "When they see one of these cars start up right before the race, and we hit the throttle two or three times, that's when people are really blown away with just how much horsepower we are making out of these Ford engines," said Tasca, who will also take a ride around the world's fastest half-mile on Sunday. "Not too many people realize how much these nitro Ford engines produce, and when you're standing right next to it and we hit the throttle, you really can feel just how much power is there. It's always great to go to a NASCAR event and spread the gospel about our sport, and share what we do with people who don't know much about drag racing," Tasca and the NHRA Full Throttle Series come to Bristol Dragway Father's Day Weekend, June 17-19, 2011 for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, presented by Tri-Cities area Area Ford Dealers.(Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing)(3-20-2011)

  • POW/MIA flag raised at BMS: Amid the hustle and bustle of Food City Family Race Night, and over the roar of racecars competing in qualifying rounds for the Scotts EZ Seed 300 and Jeff Byrd 500, a group of men and women took a moment to be silent. Standing in a semi-circle behind Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday afternoon, the leather-clad members from Rolling Thunder Tennessee, Chapter 4, remembered the nearly 92,000 prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action since World War I with a ceremony and flag raising. "We're here to publicize the issue" of prisoners of war and people missing in action, said Haley Lingerfelt, the group's MIA committee chairperson. "It's really just to make a statement. We need to pay [the soldiers] the respect that they're due." A black POW/MIA flag was raised on the same flagpole as the American flag, and veterans both in the Rolling Thunder group and in the crowd stood at attention and saluted as the American flag was hoisted. The POW/MIA flag is a permanent addition to the speedway.(see full story and pictures at the Bristol Herald Courier)(3-20-2011)

  • Sad News - Harry N. Stiff Jr: Harry N. Stiff Jr., a great friend of many in the NASCAR community, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday [March 17th] afternoon. Harry worked at International Speedway Corp [ISC] from 1999 – 2006 as Director, and then Sr. Director of Consumer Marketing. He spent a number of years prior to that working for Busch Entertainment Corporation on Sea World and Busch Gardens. Harry loved the sport and especially his home track – RIR. He was always a Virginian at heart.
    Obit Harry N. Stiff, Jr., 49, Daytona Beach, Florida passed away on March 17th at his home. The family will receive friends on Tuesday, March 22nd between the hours of 5:30 - 7:30 pm at Lohman Funeral Home; 733 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach. A memorial service will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 23rd at 10:00 am at the Calvary Christian Center, 1687 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach. Harry was born February 25, 1962 in Bedford, Virginia to Harry and Mary (Pullen) Stiff. He relocated to Volusia County nine years ago from Sanford, FL. He was an Entertainment Marketing Executive, attended Calvary Christian Center; he received his Bachelors Degree in Business from Christopher Newport University and was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. Harry was a passionate sports fan, an avid reader, loved to barbeque, cook, and was known as a great chef and food critic. He loved staying in touch with family and friends. He was predeceased by his mother, Mary Stiff and is survived by his wife of eleven years, Julynn Stiff; his daughter, Kennedy Stiff; and his father, Harry N. Stiff, Sr., all of Daytona Beach; as well as his brother, Keith (Marcelle) Stiff, Orlando, FL. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harry Stiff Memorial Fund at Floridian Bank; 1696 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32117.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-20-2011)


    News from March 19, 2011

  • Some Bristol schemes added to the Paint Scheme Gallery including: #'s 09, 7, 9, 24, 27, 29, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 42, 46, 47, 60, 66, 71, 87, 88, 92 & 99

  • New 'World' Record at Bristol: Jason Blonde was the fastest of the fast Saturday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway as he established a new world record during the World’s Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials. Blonde, driving an Xtreme Sprint Series sprint car, clicked off a blistering lap of 144.871 mph in 13.245 seconds, shattering the previous track record of 138.442 mph in 13.860 seconds set by Sammy Swindell in June of 2000 at BMS during a World of Outlaws event. The 36-year-old Blonde, a veteran sprint car racer with more than 50 feature wins on both dirt and pavement, tagged the wall earlier in the afternoon, but was totally unfazed.
    Mike Lichty set a new half-mile Supermodified world record with a lap of 144.634 mph in 13.267 seconds. Sprint Cup driver David Ragan piloted his Ford Mustang GT 5.0 to a lap of 98.497 mph at 19.481 seconds, a world record for a passenger car. Scott Russell and his Yamaha took on the World’s Fastest Half-Mile and set a half-mile closed course record for a Superbike with a run of 97.990 mph, which he covered in 19.582 seconds. Others participating in the World’s Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials were USAC Sprint Car driver Bryan Clauson and ISMA Supermodified driver Brad Noffsinger.(BMS)(3-19-2011)

  • RCR's statement regarding Mike Dillon: The following is a statement from Richard Childress Racing, in response to numerous media inquiries on the health of vice president of competition Mike Dillon - 'Richard Childress Racing vice president of competition Mike Dillon was admitted to the hospital late last week after doctors discovered a blood clot in his lung. Dillon, 46, underwent a series of tests and is awaiting results but was released from the hospital earlier this afternoon.'(RCR)(3-19-2011)

  • Happy Hour practice for the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the top five and some notes:
    #5-Martin 124.018
    #83-Vickers 123.523
    #11-Hamlin 123.475
    #20-Logano 123.245
    #14-Stewart 123.237
    slowest: #09-Elliott 117.293 and #66-McDowell 117.329
    no speed listed: #87-Nemechek
    the teams practiced the new tires [D4386], each team had one set to use.
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, average ranks, laps run on the

  • Bristol Practice Speeds Page.(3-19-2011)

  • Brian Keselowski to have surgery UPDATE: Brian Keselowski is expected to undergo gallbladder surgery as early as Thursday evening after the driver was rushed to the hospital Tuesday with what was described as "severe abdominal pain," his K-Automotive Motorsports team said. Keselowski was "diagnosed with a severe case of gallstones," according to the team, and medication to relieve the pain is not helping. The surgery would put Keselowski – vying for Sprint Cup rookie of the year honors – out of his car for two or three weeks, the team said. Dennis Setzer will attempt to qualify the #92 car at Bristol. Keselowski was described by the team as bending over in pain and begging doctors to remove his gallbladder, saying "Get this thing out of me. I just want this thing out of me so I can get back in my car and race." The surgery would be done as an outpatient procedure. The team said well-wishes can be sent to Keselowski at K-Automotive Motorsports: 2668 Peachtree Rd., Statesville, NC, 28625.(SB Nation)(3-17-2011)
    UPDATE: Brian Keselowski is "very sore" but "feels better than before" after emergency surgery Thursday night to remove his gall bladder, his K-Automotive Motorsports team said Saturday. Keselowski was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday with severe abdominal pain, and it was determined he would need to have his gall bladder removed. Dennis Setzer is driving in Keselowski's place at Bristol, and Keselowski isn't expected to return until Talladega. That means he would also miss Fontana, Martinsville and Texas. The team said Keselowski will get his stiches removed on Thursday. "I don't like to be sitting at home," Keselowski said in a statement. "I'd rather be at the track."(SB Nation)

  • Saturday 1st practice for the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is being over, the top five and some notes:
    #14-Stewart 124.889
    #00-Reutimann 124.678
    #5-Martin 124.638
    #1-McMurray 124.460
    #22-Busch 124.452
    slowest: #46-Yeley 120.687 and #87-Nemechek 120.786
    no speed listed: #92-Setzer
    incidents: #38-Kvapil slapped the wall with the right side of the car.
    the teams still practiced the old tires on the right front [D4442], the new tire [D4386] will be used in Happy Hour [12-1pm/et]
    See fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run on the

  • Bristol Practice Speeds Page.(3-19-2011)

  • Race Coverage of the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, March 20, 2011.
    Television (TV): FOX at 1:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 12:30 pm/et; green flag approx 1:13pm/et
    Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 128
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    SPEED, Wednesday, March 23 at 12:00pm/et

  • Pit Stall Selections - Bristol: The selections of pit stalls for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway have been made. Bristol has two pit roads, so choices are a little different.
    Pole sitter #99-Edwards chose pit stall 1 on the front stretch pit road [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #16-Biffle took pit stall 23, the first stall on the backstretch pit road.
    #78-Smith, who starts 3rd took the 22nd pit stall, the final stall on the front stretch pit road.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #27-Menard, who starts 4th, the stall is the last on on the back stretch pit road.
    To see where the drivers and all the other drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on the Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-19-2011)

  • Bristol Pit Rules: Bristol Motor Speedway operates under a plan where one-pit road will be used during pit stops under caution. Currently, Bristol remains the only track in the Sprint Cup Series that utilizes two pit roads with 22 pit stalls on the frontstrect and 21 on the backstretch. Teams that pit on the backstretch used to be at a competitive disadvantage. Since the spring 2002 race at Bristol, teams will enter pit road in Turn 2 (the current backstretch pit entrance) drive around down the backstretch and around Turns 3 and 4 and exit in Turn 1. Under green-flag conditions teams will enter and exit pit road under the current two-pit-road scheme.

  • Trevor Bayne...not running All-Star race? #21-Trevor Bayne is not expected to race in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 21. Bayne, 20, automatically became eligible for the event with his win in the Daytona 500 last month. However, before the season the Wood Brothers scheduled only 16 races for Bayne. The Wood Brothers added Martinsville last month and, after his early success on restrictor plate tracks, they opted to move one of the later dates to Talladega in April. The Darlington race in May has also been added to Bayne's schedule, giving him 18 for the season. "We weren't planning on going to the Open (the all-star qualifying race) anyway," team co-owner Eddie Wood said. "Naturally, we're in it, but we weren't going to run it. If you're going to spend money, you're going to run points races. The way the new points system is now, it may be possible to stay in the top 35 and not run all the races if you're fairly consistent. Last year if we didn't show up for a race, we didn't get any points. This year, that's different." Although a couple of sponsorship offers were presented for Bayne to run the Sprint All-Star Race, the products conflicted with current partners of the Wood Brothers. However, that doesn't mean the Wood Brothers won't entertain any and all offers. "If a sponsorship deal shows up, we can go do it," Wood said. "There's still time. It's simple enough to do. But as of now, we're not going. As things are right now, the first race we're not planning to run is Richmond (on April 30). We won't go to Dover or the all-star race, either. The schedule we have is all we got."(FoxSports)(3-19-2011)

  • Another career mark for Smith: For the second time this season #78-Regan Smith set a career Sprint Cup mark. The latest was an all-time best qualifying performance of third, which he achieved Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway during time trials for Sunday's Jeff Byrd 500. His other career performance came last month in the Daytona 500 when he posted an all-time best finish of seventh. And for the second time in the first four races of 2011, Smith recorded the fastest qualified speed for a Chevrolet driver. Smith's #78 Furniture Row Chevy covered Bristol's .533-mile oval in 15.040 seconds at 127.580 miles per hour. He was a few ticks shy of #99-Carl Edwards' pole-winning numbers of 14.989 at 128.014.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-19-2011)

  • NASCAR TV Coverage; Gordon leads all drivers: #24-Jeff Gordon, who earlier this season snapped a 66-race winless streak, has generated more on-screen time for his sponsors during television coverage of the first three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events than any other driver, while overall team sponsor exposure fell 25% compared to the same point in the season a year ago.
    According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. -- which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 27 seasons -- Gordon's sponsors have appeared for one hour, 50 minutes, 16 seconds (1:50:16) during live and replayed telecasts of the Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas events. When also factoring in verbal mentions of Gordon's sponsors, the veteran driver has helped amass nearly $7.6 million of in-broadcast exposure value. Las Vegas winner Carl Edwards ranks second in brand on-camera time with 1:47:28, along with a driver-high 34 sponsor mentions, for a three-race total of $7.1 million.
    While Gordon and Edwards have enjoyed early season success, overall in-broadcast exposure statistics for primary team sponsors in the series are down from a year ago. On average, per hour cumulative exposure time accumulated by team sponsors fell from 1:05:43 at the same point a year ago to 49:06 this season.(see more and a full chart at Joyce Julius & Assoc site)(3-19-2011)

  • Mechanix Wear donates gloves to Red Cross for Japan relief efforts: As relief efforts continue in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that have rocked Japan, Los Angeles-based Mechanix Wear Inc. is sending help to the Red Cross relief workers – in the form of 8,400 pairs of high-performance Mechanix Wear work gloves. Mechanix Wear and their long-time glove manufacturing partner, Hyun Jin Corp., are working together with their Japan based synthetic leather supplier, Kuraray Co. Ltd., to deliver the gloves.(Mechanix Wear)(3-19-2011)

  • Changes for Talladega? Dustin Long of the Virginian Pilot talked with Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR, and asked him about any major changes for the cars for Talladega. There had been some talk of major changes to the radiator or a different radiator to control how long the cars can run in that two-car draft as they did at Daytona. Said Pemberton: "Any possible change of any type of cooling has been toned down quite a bit. We're working with the teams on some parameters which we're not ready to go public yet, but nothing is earth shattering. I would say the changes would be very minimal.''(Virginian Pilot)(3-19-2011)

  • New crew chief for Kvapil: Derrick Finley, Front Row Motorsports competition director, is the interim crew chief for #38-Travis Kvapil until a replacement is named as crew chief Bill Henderson left the team.(FRM)(3-19-2011)

  • NASCAR Hauler parade in California - March 24th: To help get the Auto Club 400 Weekend underway, the spectacle of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hauler Parade will make its way to Auto Club Speedway from Citizens Business Bank Arena through Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. Stretching nearly an entire mile from the first hauler to the last, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hauler Parade will make its way to Auto Club Speedway around 7 p.m. To see where the convoy will travel view the parade route at autoclubspeedway.com/HaulerParade.(ACS)(3-19-2011)

  • Tunnel project at Michigan to provide fans with better access to infield: Accessing the infield at Michigan International Speedway with a pre-race pit pass or infield wristband just got easier with the second phase of a construction project to widen the pedestrian tunnel under the racetrack under way. The tunnel was lengthened in 2009 when MIS built its new Pit Road Suite building, extending the then tunnel to the reserved parking lot behind the $17 million building. The previous tunnel popped up in the middle of the tri-oval (the grass section inside the track), making it impossible for fans to use while race cars were on the track. To get the tunnel up to code, the extension had to be much wider than the existing tunnel. Now, crews are widening and reshaping the tunnel so it's easier for fans to navigate. After the suite building and first tunnel project were completed in June of 2010, Curtis and his team made a commitment to have phase two of the tunnel completed prior to the 2011 season, which widens the previous six-foot wide tunnel under the track to 11 feet throughout the entire 450-foot-long stretch from the infield to behind the center grandstands. Construction crews from Clark Construction of Lansing, Mich. have recently dug up the old tunnel and the start-finish line of the race track. The new concrete sections of the tunnel will be placed the rest of this month. The project is scheduled for completion by the Great Lakes Wine Fest at the track on May 21. The new tunnel section, approximately 140-feet long, will bring the grand total of the pedestrian tunnel to more than 450 feet including the stairs. There will be a new entry gate on the grandstand side of the track. The new slope of the tunnel will not be as steep, making it easier for fans to walk.
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on June 19 and NSCS 400 on August 21 are now on sale and as low as $30. Visit MISpeedway.com or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 today to take advantage of great pricing for 2011 events at MIS.(MIS)(3-19-2011)


    News from March 18, 2011

  • Edwards wins Bristol pole: #99-Carl Edwards won the Coors Light pole for the Jeff Byrd 500 present by Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 128.014mph for his 2nd pole of the season and 9th of his career.
    #16-Biffle starts 2nd followed by #78-Smith [best career start], #27-Menard, #6-Ragan, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #56-Truex Jr., #5-Martin and #4-Kahne.
    The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #09-Elliott, #60-Cassill, #87-Nemechek, #36-Blaney, #46-Yeley, #66-McDowell, #92-Setzer and #13-Mears.
    The go-or-go homers who failed to qualify for the race (1): #32-Schrader.
    Qualifying Re-Air: 8:30pm/et & 12:00am/et on SPEED

    See the starting lineup, qualifying speeds and notes on my Bristol Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(3-18-2011)

  • Daytona 500 Owner's Trophy to be on Display in Henry Ford Museum: The 2011 Daytona 500 Owner's Trophy, won by rookie Trevor Bayne and the legendary NASCAR team Wood Brothers Racing, will be on display in Henry Ford Museum starting today, March 18 - March 28. The trophy will be exhibited next to the 1901 Sweepstakes, the race car that carried Henry Ford to victory in the first and only race he ever participated in. Admission to the museum is free with membership or $15 adults, $14 senior (62 and up) and $11 youth (5-12). Children four and under are free. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or visit www.thehenryford.org. The Daytona 500 Trophy, officially named the Harley J. Earl Trophy, is one of the most beautiful trophies in the world. The original trophy is kept in Daytona Beach, Fla., while the winning driver and owners receive a replica of this beautiful piece. The Wood Brothers have agreed to allow their trophy to be on display at Henry Ford Museum during this time period. Harley Earl came up with the classic Firebird rocket car theme to highlight the Daytona 500 trophy and then he had it hand-sculpted inside his Michigan design studio during the absolute zenith of the American automotive industry. Earl, who retired in 1958, was vice president of styling at General Motors. He later became the second commissioner of NASCAR in 1960.(Ford)(3-18-2011)

  • Tire changes at Bristol: NASCAR and Goodyear announced a change in tire plans for this weekend's Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Extreme right side tire wear in both Nationwide and Sprint Cup practice on Friday has forced Goodyear to re-evaluate the rubber compound originally planned for the .533-mile track this weekend. Nationwide cars will now run the tires used last year at Bristol and a competition caution will come out on lap 25 of Saturday's race for teams to check tire wear.
    Sprint Cup Series teams will now use tires originally designated for Fontana and Michigan with Goodyear expected to bring in 1200-1300 tires from a Charlotte-area warehouse later this evening.(CBS)
    MORE: Due to severe wear on right-side tires and their failure to "rubber in" with the track, Goodyear is rushing in a new compound for Saturday's Nationwide Series and Sunday's Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway. About 1,200 tires are being shipped from the Charlotte, N.C., area. Usually, as drivers run more practice laps, rubber from the tire grounds into the track's surface and that alleviates excessive tire wear. "With the lack of improvement it was obvious we needed to react," Goodyear's Rick Heinrich said Friday. Goodyear officials said the situation was different from what happened at Indianapolis in 2008, when tires wore out so fast that NASCAR had to mandate pit stops every nine laps of green-flag racing. Goodyear changed the compound for the right-side tire in the Nationwide and Cup Series in an attempt to provide more grip. But it became obvious early on Friday that the approach was not working. #11-Denny Hamlin said he was able to run only 30 laps, about 100 laps short of a fuel run, on the right-side tires Goodyear brought to the track. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said tests likely will be scheduled before the August race in Bristol to make sure there is no repeat of what happened to Hamlin. Pemberton said he supported Goodyear's decision to react quickly. "There's tires in the barn ready to race anywhere and everywhere we go," Pemberton said.(ESPN)
    See tire notes [before the change], codes, limits, pressures on the Bristol Race Info page - Goodyear section.(3-18-2011)

  • Driver Introduction Songs at Bristol: The 43 drivers who race in the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway, will be intorduced with a song each driver chose, some of the drivers and songs:
    #00-David Reutimann: "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" by The Offpring
    #09-Bill Elliott - TBA
    #1-Jamie McMurray: "Burn It To The Ground" by Nickelback
    #2-Brad Keselowski - TBA
    #4-Kasey Kahne: "A Country Boy Can Survive" by Hank Williams Jr.
    #5-Mark Martin - TBA
    #6-David Ragan: "No More Mr. Nice Guy" by Alice Cooper
    #7-Robby Gordon: TBA
    #9-Marcos Ambrose: "Fuel" by Metallica
    #11-Denny Hamlin: "Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys
    #13-Casey Mears: "Regulate" by Warren G
    #14-Tony Stewart: "Bawataba" by Kid Rock
    #16-Greg Biffle: "Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night" by Black Eyed Peas
    #17-Matt Kenseth: "Nightmare" by Avenged Sevenhold
    #18-Kyle Busch: "Rowdy Busch" by 2012 featuring Raytona500
    #20-Joey Logano: "Opposite of Adults" by Chiddy Bang
    #21-Trevor Bayne: TBA
    #22-Kurt Busch: "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" by George Thorogood
    #24-Jeff Gordon: "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty
    #27-Paul Menard: "Concrete Jungle" by Black Label Society
    #29-Kevin Harvick: "Back In Black" by AC/DC
    #31-Jeff Burton: "Welcome To The Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
    #32-Ken Schrader: TBA
    #33-Clint Bowyer: theme music from the movie "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
    #34-David Gilliland: "Wild Side" by Motley Crue
    #36-Dave Blaney: Ohio State University fight song
    #37-Tony Raines: TBA
    #38-Travis Kvapil: "Song 2" by Blur
    #39-Ryan Newman: "Good Ol' Boys" by Waylon Jennings
    #42-Juan Pablo Montoya: "Ladies and Gentleman" by Saliva
    #43-A.J. Allmendinger: "Turn Around" by Flo Rida
    #46-J.J. Yeley: TBA
    #47-Bobby Labonte: "God Bless Texas" by Little Texas
    #48-Jimmie Johnson - secret until intro selected by Vickers
    #56-Martin Truex Jr.: "Homeboy" by Eric Church
    #60-Landon Cassill: "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley
    #66-Michael McDowell: "I Saw The Light" by David Crowder Band
    #71-Andy Lally: "Beat You Down" by Downstait
    #78-Regan Smith: "Welcome To The Family" by Avenged Sevenhold
    #83-Brian Vickers - secret until intro selected by Johnson
    #87-Joe Nemechek: TBA
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. - TBA
    #92-Dennis Setzer: TBA
    #99-Carl Edwards: "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" from the TV sitcom Cheers
    Fans at BMS can hear all the songs during driver introductions, which begin at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
    For more information concerning tickets, please visit www.bristoltix.com or call the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865).(3-18-2011)

  • What would points standings look like if 2010 system used?:(the top 10)
    Rank, Driver, 2010 Points, New Points Rank
    1) Tony Stewart, 455 points, 1st in current points system
    2) Kurt Busch, 450, 2
    3) Carl Edwards, 444, 3
    4) Juan Pablo Montoya, 431, 4
    5) Ryan Newman, 422, 5
    6) Paul Menard, 387, 6
    7) Martin Truex Jr., 387, 8
    8) Denny Hamlin, 386, 7
    9) A J Allmendinger, 379, 9
    10) Dale Earnhardt Jr., 372, 11
    See full standings [after the current official standings] on the 2011 Drivers Points Standing page.(3-9/18-2011)

  • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at Bristol this weekend . . . this is the first time NASCAR teams will run this right-side tire code, though teams in both of these series did run this left-side code at Bristol last August . . . compared to what was run at Bristol last season, this right-side tire features slight compund and construction changes and gives the cars more grip . . . unlike most other NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, on which teams generally run no inner liners, teams are required to run inner liners in their right-side tires only at Bristol . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window for the Sprint Cup cars are every 130-140 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear) See full tire notes, codes, limites, pressures on the Bristol Race Info page - Goodyear section.(3-18-2011)

  • Robby picks up sponsor for Bristol: Thunder Valley is about to get its first taste of SPEED Energy when the #7 Dodge Charger of Robby Gordon Motorsports rolls into town. After a week off of NASCAR competition, Robby Gordon is ready to get back in the driver's seat and take on the "World's Fastest Half-Mile." This weekend the #7 will be black with orange SPEED Energy logos and will be carrying new partner, Food City, on the quarter panels.(RGM)(3-18-2011)

  • Kentucky Teenager to Meet Jeff Gordon via Make-A-Wish Foundation: Ask 14-year-old Johnathon Ousley about what his biggest wish would be, and he'd want to find a way to combine camping, fishing and meeting his favorite NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon. The Prestonsburg, Ky., teenager's wish will actually come true this weekend through the teamwork of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, Bristol Motor Speedway and Pepsi MAX Maximum Moments. Ousley and his family will travel to Bristol, Tenn., for an unforgettable weekend of activity in association with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jeff Byrd 500 race. His wish begins Friday with a private meet-and-greet with Gordon at Bristol Motor Speedway. They will also participate in media activities and a Q-&-A session with fans that night. On Sunday, Ousley will rejoin Gordon at the track for the pre-race driver introductions and ceremonial lap around the track. The family will then watch Gordon race for the checkered flag in the #24 Pepsi MAX car from a private suite. Gordon granted his first wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 1995. Since then, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has granted more than 230 wishes, making him among the most-requested celebrity wish granters in the Foundation's 30-year history. and discover how you can share the power of a wish.(Make-a-wish PR)(3-18-2011)

  • Driver agent creates own agency, takes some big names: Longtime NASCAR driver agent Rod Moskowitz is spinning off from Motorsports Management International to create his own agency by acquiring the contracts of top drivers #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kasey Kahne and #1-Jamie McMurray. The new agency, which will be known as Fuel Sports Management Group, will be run by Moskowitz, who worked for MMI for 11 years, and former Ray Evernham Motorsports executives Rick Russell and David Jessey. Evernham, who at one time considered buying MMI, will be an adviser and member of the board along with Jack Giarraputo, Adam Sandler's partner at Happy Madison Productions. MMI founder Cary Agajanian will continue to represent Tony Stewart and work in NASCAR, as well as drifting and other motorsports. He expects to maintain a close relationship with Fuel Sports Management.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(3-18-2011)


    News from March 17, 2011

  • The Numbers for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City Bristol Motor Speedway:
    0 –fewest cautions for a race at Bristol Motor Speedway (7/11/71)
    0 –fewest lead changes for a race (3/25/73)
    1 –fewest laps led by race winner (7/26/64 – Fred Lorenzen)
    4 –number of jet dryers available for track drying during race weekend
    7 –number of consecutive wins by Darrell Waltrip at BMS (1981 – 1984)
    16 –most wins by a car owner (Junior Johnson)
    20 –most cautions for a race at BMS (three times, most recent 8/23/03)
    31 – cautions in the first three Sprint Cup races of 2011
    34 –races won from the front row (22 from the pole)
    38 –different winners at BMS in 100 Sprint Cup races
    40 –most lead changes (4/14/91)
    42 –number of cars that started first race at Bristol in 1961
    60 –minutes, the minimum amount of time it takes to dry the .533-mile track after a significant rainfall
    100 –number of Sprint Cup races at BMS (first race in1961)
    138 of 787laps completed in first three races have been under caution
    167 –most caution laps (7/25/65)
    245.500 of 1,232.500miles completed this season have been under caution
    1962 –year the track was reshaped and the banking increased which led to designated as the "World's Fastest Half-Mile Track"
    1978 –first night race at Bristol
    1992 –year track surface was changed from asphalt to concrete
    1996 –year Bruton Smith purchased track from Larry Carrier (January 22, 1996)
    2007 –year banking was reconfigured and track resurfaced (current concrete surface)
    157,574 –number of fans that established the Guinness World Record for the world's largest audience wave at BMS (August 23, 2008)(Dodge Motorsports)(3-17-2011)

  • Sad News - Melissa Loftin: Melissa Loftin, the wife of NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour driver Brian Loftin, passed away Tuesday [March 15th] following an automobile accident in North Carolina. "On behalf of NASCAR and the France family, we send out our thoughts and prayers to Brian, the Loftin family and the entire Whelen Southern Modified Tour community," said Richard Buck, NASCAR's director of touring series. "Melissa was a warm and recognizable face in the garage, and she will be missed." Loftin, the 2008 Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion, earned the Coors Light Pole Award and finished 18th in the season-opener on March 13 following a late-race incident while contending for the lead.(nascar.com)
    AND Melissa Rierson Loftin, 29, a committed wife, dedicated mother, loving daughter, sister and loyal friend, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday afternoon, March 15, 2011. Born October 20, 1981, Melissa had attended Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown and was a member of First Christian Church in Kernersville. She was a competitive dancer with Dance Unlimited in Kernersville, a beautiful vocalist and accomplished pianist. She participated in and won numerous local and state beauty pageants, rode motorcycles, and adored shopping. In lieu of flowers, the family has established the Melissa Rierson Loftin Memorial Fund at First Citizens Bank to assist Carson's future education. For service info and online condolences. go to www.hayworth-miller.com.(3-17-2010)

  • Brian Keselowski to have surgery: Brian Keselowski is expected to undergo gallbladder surgery as early as Thursday evening after the driver was rushed to the hospital Tuesday with what was described as "severe abdominal pain," his K-Automotive Motorsports team said. Keselowski was "diagnosed with a severe case of gallstones," according to the team, and medication to relieve the pain is not helping. The surgery would put Keselowski – vying for Sprint Cup rookie of the year honors – out of his car for two or three weeks, the team said. Dennis Setzer will attempt to qualify the #92 car at Bristol. Keselowski was described by the team as bending over in pain and begging doctors to remove his gallbladder, saying "Get this thing out of me. I just want this thing out of me so I can get back in my car and race." The surgery would be done as an outpatient procedure. The team said well-wishes can be sent to Keselowski at K-Automotive Motorsports: 2668 Peachtree Rd., Statesville, NC, 28625.(SB Nation)(3-17-2011)

  • Mars continues partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing: Mars, Incorporated announced that it is continuing its partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) through a new multi-year deal. The deal will extend the winning partnership that has brought the #18 Toyota to victory lane 14 times since 2008. The centerpiece of the partnership will continue to be the popular M&M'S brand as the primary paint scheme on JGR's #18 Toyota. "From connecting with NASCAR fans to engaging our retail partners, our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing has proved to be tremendously successful," explained Debra A. Sandler, Chief Consumer Officer at Mars Chocolate North America. "We're thrilled to extend this partnership and look forward to celebrating more wins both on and off the track." The multi-year partnership will continue the current level [approx 30 races] of Mars sponsorship of the #18 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the sport's top series.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-17-2011)

  • Jamie McMurray and Scott Dixon Swap Rides: The worlds of NASCAR and IndyCar came together at Talladega Superspeedway and Barber Motorsports Park today. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray slid behind the wheel of Scott Dixon's #09 Target Honda IndyCar at Barber, and Dixon took McMurray's #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for some hot laps at Talladega. See transcript and images on the Jamie McMurray / Scott Dixon swap rides page.(3-17-2011)

  • BB&T colors on the #33: For the third time in the last three races, the #33 Chevy will sport a new paint scheme as longtime RCR partner, BB&T, adorns the car. Bowyer last ran the maroon and yellow paint scheme during last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway, bringing home the checkered flag just ahead of RCR teammate Kevin Harvick (RCR), see an image of the scheme on the #33 Team Schemes page.(3-17-2011)

  • Original owner gets involved with sale of Gateway: Original Gateway International Raceway owner Chris Pook and his former construction manager and general manager Rod Wolter have been asked by the track’s current landowners to help facilitate the sale of the Madison track. "We’ve been in discussion with Chris and Rod for several weeks and we’ve just finalized the consent of the group to engage them," said Clayton attorney Bob West, who represents one of the landowners. "I don’t know if afraid is the right term, but the group recognized that these guys had a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience, a lot of credibility in the racing industry that would let them speak with authority to people that the owners would not otherwise have the opportunity to gain an audience with." West also denied Gateway has been sold to Moroso Investment Partners, a Florida firm that owns Palm Beach International Raceway. That group purchased Memphis Motorsports Park at auction in December from Dover Motorsports Inc. and finalized the deal on Jan. 31 for $2.062 million. And, until Feb. 18, Dover had owned parts of and leased parts of Gateway from the four landowners. But the Delaware-based company terminated its leases with the foursome and is no longer involved. Pook originally bought the Gateway property in 1995 and opened the track in 1997. Wolter, 70, who still resides in Edwardsville, was Pook’s construction manager and general manager until Pook sold the facility to Dover Motorsports in 1998.(St Louis Post Dispatch)(3-17-2011)

  • Tailgater Monthly To Put Its Touch On Pit Stop Park at Texas: Tailgater Monthly Magazine, the ultimate source for tailgaters, will sponsor Texas Motor Speedway’s recently constructed fan amenity that will now be known as The Tailgater Monthly Pit Stop Park at Texas Motor Speedway. Tailgater Monthly Magazine will help fans get geared up in the speedway’s premiere tailgating area located just outside Gate 4. The park will include a Tailgater Monthly Magazine bus that will be equipped with television screens and all the essential tailgating necessities. The Tailgater Monthly Pit Stop Park at Texas Motor Speedway allows fans with personal vehicles to enjoy the luxury of a spacious tailgating spot to accommodate all their tailgating needs. The park will include 76 reserved spaces and feature a portable comfort station; common area featuring picnic tables, horseshoe pits and bean-bag toss areas; security staffing; catering options through Levy Restaurants; daily bagged trash pick-up, and more. Spots for the Tailgater Monthly Pit Stop Park at Texas Motor Speedway are available by contacting the Texas Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (817) 215-8500.(TMS)(3-17-2011)


    News from March 16, 2011

  • Rheem to sponsor #29 in some races: Richard Childress Racing and Rheem have reached an agreement for Rheem to become part of the partnership marketing program for RCR's #29 Chevy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Kevin Harvick. Rheem will serve as the primary sponsor for at least three races during the 2011 season: June 26 at Infineon Raceway; September 4 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and November 6 at Texas Motor Speedway. Rheem will be an associate sponsor on the lower rear-quarter of the #29 Chevy for the remaining races. The paint scheme and uniform will mimic the existing KHI #33 Rheem Tankless water heater scheme. The relationship is an expansion of the existing program between Rheem and Kevin Harvick, Incorporated, which was established in 2008. Rheem was a major associate sponsor of RCR and the #29 team from 2007 to 2009.(RCR), see an image of the scheme on #29 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2011)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Daytona:Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to drive the #88 National Guard Heritage Special paint scheme at Daytona on July 2, 2011, see an image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2011)

  • Bush's Baked Beans returns to the #47: Since the Daytona 500, Bobby Labonte’s #47 has sported a unique look with a different sponsor weekly. During the fourth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Labonte arrives with a household brand that is headquartered not far from the half-mile high-banked concrete oval of Bristol Motor Speedway. Labonte’s Toyota Camry will be branded Bush’s Beans for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City. Bush Brothers & Company, which is based in Knoxville, Tenn., enters their ninth racing season with JTG Daugherty Racing.(JTG Daugherty Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #47 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2011)

  • Pepsi colors for Gordon at Bristol: Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 Pepsi MAX Chevy at Bristol, during a weekend when Pepsi also launches a ‘Maximum Moments’ promotion.(Performance PR Plus), see an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2011)

  • Pepsi on the #42 also: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is proud to have Pepsi as the sponsor on the quarter panel of the #42 Target Chevy that Juan Pablo Montoya will drive this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.(EGR)(3-16-2011)

  • Ganassi honored for two awards: Chip Ganassi was recently nominated in two different categories by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and SportsBusiness Daily for the 2011 Sports Business Awards, Ganassi was nominated for the Sports Executive of the Year category along with George Bodenheimer from ESPN; David Levy from Turner Broadcasting System; Kevin Plank from Under Armour; and Pat Riley from the Miami Heat. Ganassi Race Teams also received a nomination in the Professional Sports Team of the Year category along with the New York Jets, Orlando Magic, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Francisco Giants. The 2011 nominees were selected based on their excellence and outstanding achievements in the business of sports from March 1, 2010 through Feb. 28 of this year. The winners will be announced at the Sports Business Awards Ceremony on May 18, at New York’s Marriott Marquis in Times Square. (EGR)(3-16-2011)

  • Sad News - Elfriede Wood: Elfriede Wood, wife of Lafterty Motorsports team Vice President Calvin Wood and mother of mechanic/team jackman Steven Wood, passed away Sunday night as a result of complications from an earlier stomach surgery. The Wood family has been instrumental in the continued growth of Lafferty Motorsports. The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00pm at Hartsell Funeral Home, located at 460 Branchview Dr NE, Concord, NC on Wednesday, March 16th. The funeral will be Thursday at 2:00pm/et. (Lafferty Motorsports PR)(3-16-2011)

  • BMS to dedicate POW/MIA memorial in grandstands: Bristol Motor Speedway will hold a special service before the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City March 20 to dedicate a POW/MIA memorial in the grandstands. The Empty Chair Memorial, which serves as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POW/MIAs still unaccounted for from all foreign conflicts, will sit on the frontstretch grandstands, just behind the flag stand. On Friday, March 18, Rolling Thunder, Inc., a national veteran’s orientated organization, and officials from Bristol Motor Speedway, will have the Missing Man Ceremony, while also raising a POW/MIA flag that will fly throughout the weekend at BMS.
    The Empty Chair Memorial will be cordoned off in the BMS grandstands. Inside the area will be a solitary chair, fresh flowers that will be changed daily and a plaque. The plaque at the unoccupied seat will recognize the more than 92,000 American soldiers missing since World War I. Race weekend at BMS kicks off with Ford Fan Friday qualifying March 18, followed by the Scotts EZ Seed 300 Nationwide Series race March 19, and the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City Sprint Cup event March 20.(BMS)(3-16-2011)

  • Good Seats At Great Prices For Martinsville Speedway: The Goody's Fast Relief 500 is less than a month away, but plenty of good tickets remain for the greatest short-track show on earth. A ticket to the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on April 3 is a ticket to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at its best, with beating, banging, pushing, shoving and door-to-door racing all day long. Check out some of Martinsville Speedway’s great ticket prices for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 and check on tickets for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 and the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race may be purchased by calling 877.722.3849 (877.RACE.TIX) or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com online.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-16-2011)


    News from March 15, 2011

  • New gasman for Biffle: Ryan Dextraze will take over gasman duties for the #16 Roush Fenway Racing team and driver Greg Biffle this weekend in Bristol. Dextraze served as the team’s catchcan person until this year and then moved to windshield tear-off duties. Billy Manchester who served as the team’s gasman for the first three races of this season will maintain his position as shock specialist and take over windshield duties on raceday.(Roush Fenway Racing)(3-15-2011)

  • New look for the #38 team: Travis Kvapil will celebrate a milestone in his Sprint Cup Series career this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway - but he'll look a little different doing it. The veteran driver will make his 150th Cup start at Sunday's Jeff Byrd 500 at the famed short track, and he'll do so with a new-look paint scheme on his #38 Long John Silver's Ford. The new design showcases the new Long John Silver's logo, colors and tagline and replaces the familiar bright yellow-and-blue scheme that has adorned the car in recent years. Bristol is a good place for Kvapil to celebrate his achievement. Like many drivers, he includes the .533-mile oval among his favorites and has run well there in the past. His best career starting position is fifth and his top finish is seventh.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the new scheme on the #38 Team Schemes page.(3-15-2011)

  • VA Mortgage Center.com Sponsors Schrader and the #32: VA Mortgage Center.com, the nation's No. 1 dedicated VA lender, announced its sponsorship of Kenny Schrader and longtime NASCAR crew chief and owner Frank Stoddard's FAS Lane Racing. Schrader, a Missouri native, will drive the VA Mortgage Center.com #32 Ford in the upcoming Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I'm excited to be working with Frankie and Heidi Stoddard and their VA Mortgage Center.com team for the Sprint Cup race," Kenny said. "Bristol is a great track. I enjoy the fast pace of the race and never knowing what to expect. I know the car will be competitive. And as far as crew chiefs go, Frankie is one of the best and we work well together." This will be Kenny's first race for FAS Lane Racing, which Stoddard formed in February. The team will field Ford-manufactured cars from Roush-Fenway Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports with a Doug Yates engine. Founded in 2003, Missouri-based VA Mortgage Center.com is the nation's No. 1 dedicated VA lender. VAMC has worked with more than 500,000 military families and serviced more than $1 billion in VA Loans in the last year alone. The company's mission is to help veterans and active-duty service members take full advantage of their VA home loan benefits.(VAMC/FAS Lane Racing)(3-15-2011)

  • John Andretti has ride for Indy 500 UPDATE: John Andretti will drive the fifth Andretti Autosport car in the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The others will be for IndyCar regulars Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Mike Conway and Danica Patrick.(Indianapolis Star)(3-11-2011)
    UPDATE: Andretti Autosport announced it will join forces with co-entrant Richard Petty Motorsports and primary sponsor Window World, Inc., to field an entry for IndyCar veteran John Andretti in this year’s 100 anniversary edition of the Indianapolis 500. John, who has made 11 prior Indy 500 starts including last year’s run for the Petty-Andretti combo, will drive the #43 Window World car with a traditional “Petty Blue” and “Day-Glo Red” color scheme. However, the livery featured on this year’s entry was inspired by the 1982 race-winning car of Gordon Johncock and designed to commemorate that historic car. In conjunction with the effort, Window World and ABILITY Magazine have created the “$1,000,000 WIN-WIN” promotion that will provide one, lucky contestant the chance to win $1 million should John win the 2011 Indianapolis 500. 2011 marks the third-straight year Window World has served as John’s primary sponsor in the Indianapolis 500. Headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Window World remains America's largest replacement window company with offices in more than 200 cities nationwide. This will also be the third-consecutive Indy 500 to include participation from Richard Petty, a racing icon and one of the most-recognizable figures in NASCAR history. A 200-time NASCAR race winner and seven-time NASCAR champion, Petty witnessed the Indianapolis 500 in person for the first time in 2007 and participated as a co-owner for the first time in 2009.(RPM)(3-15-2011)

  • Allmendinger goes karting on off weekend: While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took an early season weekend off, #43-AJ Allmendinger was returning to his roots with another karting outing in the WKA Manufacturers Cup this past weekend. Running in the second round of the World Karting Association (WKA), Allmendinger was on hand at Carolina Motorsports Park at the 7/10 mile 16-turn kart track in Kershaw, South Carolina. Allmendinger first got his start in karts in California, picking off championships one at a time on his way up to earn a shot at formula car competition. But he's never lost the bug and always is looking to get back behind the wheel of a kart. The race weekend was a successful one as Allmendinger was back in form straight away, nabbing a second place finish in Saturday's finals in both classes that he ran (TAG Senior and Parilla Leopard).(Allmendinger PR)(3-15-2011)

  • 2011 Features Some Interesting Comebacks and Slow Starts: Statistically speaking, some drivers are having starkly different seasons this year compared to last. Some of that might have to do with a wrinkle in the schedule. Last season opened with races at Daytona, Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas. This season opened with Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Still, it's interesting to see the peaks and valleys. For instance…
    Stewart-Haas Racing is having the biggest comeback start. Ryan Newman has had the biggest Driver Rating jump after three races. After three events in 2010, his Driver Rating was 66.1. Currently, Newman has a rating of 101.5, a jump of 35.4 points – the largest gain in the series. Second is Tony Stewart, who improved 30.3 points – from 88.1 in 2010 to a series-best 118.4 now.
    The biggest drops are all members of the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The biggest drop is Kevin Harvick, who had a Driver Rating of 116.4 after three races last year. He now has a 73.4, a drop of 43 points. Jimmie Johnson dropped 36.7 points, from 113.0 last year to 76.3 after the first three races this season.(NASCAR)(3-15-2011)

  • Crawford takes reigns at Mobile International Speedway: UPDATE more info: NASCAR driver Rick Crawford has entered into a multi-year agreement to manage and promote Mobile International Speedway. Crawford's career began at MIS racing for owner's Lee and Ida Fields and has now come full circle with his return to the Speedway. "I am truly humbled that Ida Fields has chosen me to takeover her and Lee's baby. Growing up, I thought winning at Daytona was just a dream and that dream came true, today another dream has become a reality," said Crawford. "We've got a lot of work to do and I hope our fans and our racers will be patient with us as we get started." Ida Fields added the following: "I had a great partner in Lee and we were able to build the track into something special. I see a lot of Lee in Rick and Lee would be so proud that Rick has come back to Mobile International Speedway." Crawford's management team is in place as of today and are in the process of preparing for the Speedway's Annual Swap Meet this Saturday [March 19th] as well as the Miller Lite Super Late Model series season opener on March 26th. Known as the fastest half mile in Alabama, Mobile International Speedway hosts racing every other Saturday night. Six different classes of cars compete at MIS; Island Motors II Bombers, Bob's Speed Shop Sportsman, Praytor Realty Super Stocks, Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds, Midwest Cooling Towers Pro-Late Models and Miller Lite Super Late Models. The Winged Sprint cars are set to make a special appearance on July 9th. Rick Crawford Performance, L.L.C. is based out of Concord, North Carolina Rick Crawford Performance provides promotions, entertainment and racing performance consulting services from local racing to NASCAR. Currently, Rick Crawford Performance has an ARCA team, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in it's North Carolina facility.(Rick Crawford Performance PR)(3-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Formal announcement was made at a luncheon at a local Mobile, Alabama restaurant today. Mobile International Speedway, has now become a Rick Crawford Performance Track. Crawford has a three-year agreement to run the Speedway, with an option for three more years, with the track's owner, Ida Fields. Crawford said that he would like to see Mobile International Speedway become a "full-blown entertainment facility" with outdoor summer concerts, defensive driving classes for kids and eventually something along the lines of the "Snowball Derby" at Mobile International Speedway. Crawford also said that he's not done racing yet; and hopes to run a few more truck races this year. He would like to run Talladega, possibly others if able to pick up a ride in a good truck. Crawford ended his remarks by saying that he's driven race cars all over the United States, but is glad to call Mobile home.(3-15-2011)

  • A sellout not expected at Bristol: While a "huge" crowd is expected for this Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, it's not likely to be a sellout, said both Bruton Smith, who is chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., and Jerry Caldwell, who is president and general manager at Bristol. "I don't know that we'll have a sellout," Smith said. "I'd like to say we will. That would be wonderful. But I don't know that we will. There will be a huge crowd there, though, both Saturday [for the Nationwide Series race] and Sunday [for the Cup Series race]." Bristol Motor Speedway had its string of 55 consecutive sellouts broken last spring when an estimated 138,000 attended the Food City 500, according to NASCAR. The facility offers grandstand seating for 160,000, and fell just short of filling that for last August's night race that was attended by a crowd estimated at 155,000 by NASCAR. Caldwell said BMS is still dealing with a sluggish economy that has adversely affected the ability of long-time season ticket holders to renew their packages and attend Bristol's two races every year. And given a choice, both he and Smith admitted that fans tend to choose the August night race over the spring Sunday afternoon event.(in part from NASCAR.com)(3-15-2011)

  • Bristol Motor Speedway on cover of NASCAR the Game 2011: Many race fans have dreamed of the day they can slide behind the wheel of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series machine and rocket around the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, thanks to a special GameStop Racing and NASCAR The Game 2011 ticket offer, race fans will have that chance…at least, virtually. Through the GameStop Racing package, race fans can purchase two tickets to the March 20 Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City for $150 and receive a $20 GameStop gift card for free. Additionally, fans who buy four tickets for the March 19 Scotts EZ Seed 300 for $180 through the promotion also will receive a $20 GameStop gift card for free.
    Race fans may want to put that GameStop gift card toward the purchase of NASCAR The Game 2011 when it releases for Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation3 computer entertainment system on March 29 and Wii on April 12. The game features all of the intensity of competing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit and, even better for Bristol fans, the game’s designers chose to put BMS on the cover to highlight what is found within the game.
    Fans can live the ultimate motorsports experience in Bristol, and then take on the World’s Fastest Half-Mile themselves in NASCAR The Game 2011 which is developed by Eutechnyx and published by Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI). The game is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. For more information, visit www.NASCARTheGame.com. Anyone interested in the GameStop Racing ticket package can order by calling 1-866-415-4158 or by visiting www.gamestopracing.com/bristol.(BMS)(3-15-2011)

  • Steel Frame Taking Shape on the World's Largest HD Video Board at CMS: The steel frame that will support the world's largest high-definition video board is more than 50% complete, as construction continues on the massive screen created by Panasonic, that will debut during Charlotte Motor Speedway's 2011 May race events. The 500,000-pound steel frame that will hold the 165,000-pound HD video board is scheduled to be completed by the end of March. Crews from Granite Contracting, of Concord, N.C., Mid-Atlantic Construction of Charlotte, N.C. and Eastern Sign Tech of Burlington, N.J. have erected six, 30-foot tall steel columns galvanized by Galvan Industries of Harrisburg, N.C. Each column weighs 18,500 pounds and is attached to a concrete footing. The approximately 200-foot-wide, 80-foot-tall screen will eventually rise 110 feet above the track on the steel support structure.
    During the next phase of construction on the world's largest HD video board, Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, will install the largest transformer in their product line, the Duke Power 1000 KW, 208 V, 3-phase transformer, which will be centered under the board's steel frame. Also, the installation of 158 panels that will make up the screen of the world's largest HD video board will start the first week of April. Thirteen sub-electric panels will also be installed, each of which will power a "panel riser," or a column of panels. Once construction is completed, more than nine million LED lamps will illuminate the Panasonic video board during each NASCAR race event at Charlotte Motor Speedway this spring, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29.
    The 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. Information about tickets to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(3-15-2011)


    News from March 14, 2011

  • The Entry List for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is posted, 44 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    Not in top 35 of owners points:
    #09-Bill Elliott (1988 Champ)(23rd in 2011 owners pts/3 attempts)
    #13-Casey Mears (35/3)
    #32-Ken Schrader (24/3)
    #36-Dave Blaney (38/3)
    #46-J.J. Yeley (41/3)
    #60-Landon Cassill (43/3)
    #66-Michael McDowell (44/3)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (42/3)
    #92-Brian Keselowski (46/3)
    In the event that all practices and qualifying are all rained out or cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #'s 09,32,13,36,46,87,60,66
    missing the race would be [1]: #'s 92
    See the full entry list at my Jayski's Bristol Entry List.(3-14-2011)

  • Stewart testing at the Rock: hearing that #14-Tony Stewart is testing at "Little Rock" today, the 1/2 mile track at Rockingham Speedway.(3-14-2011)

  • Intrigue In The Top 10: The top 10 alone has some interesting nuggets, each position a storyline in itself. Here are a few.
    1. Tony Stewart: Though in a points tie with Kurt Busch, Stewart inherits the title of “points leader” due to the tie-breaker of best finish – in this case his runner-up result in Las Vegas. The last time Stewart held the points lead was Sept. 6, 2009 after Atlanta.
    2. Kurt Busch: Second in points for the second consecutive week. If he can move up to the top spot, it would be the first time since April 26, 2009 after Talladega.
    3. Carl Edwards: A short-lived trip outside the top 10 ended after his a win at Las Vegas, his third victory in the last five races.
    4. Juan Pablo Montoya: This is the sixth time Montoya has been fourth or higher in the standings. His previous five trips were in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
    5. Ryan Newman: It has been over a year since Ryan Newman was in the top five in points – June 14, 2009 after Michigan was the last time.
    6. Paul Menard: The highest ranking member of Richard Childress Racing, this is the highest Menard has ever been in the points standings. His previous high was eighth after this year’s Daytona 500.
    7. Martin Truex Jr.: Truex was seventh after the Daytona 500, too. The last time he was this high in the points: 2007, when he made the Chase.
    8. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin climbs the standings again this week, moving from 19th to 14th to 8th.
    9. AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger holds onto a top-10 spot for the third consecutive week. The last time the #43 was in the top 10 for three consecutive weeks was after race Nos. 29-31 in 1998 with driver John Andretti.
    10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt rejoins the top 10 for the first time since April of last season, after Talladega.(NASCAR)(3-14-2011)

  • Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame names 2011 honoree's: John Force, one of drag racing’s most legendary figures, will add yet another racing accomplishment to his illustrious career resume when he becomes just the fourth NHRA racer inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Force will be honored Thursday, April 7, at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala held in the Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway during the Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR doubleheader race weekend. Force’s induction will highlight an evening that recognizes the accomplishments of some of the biggest names in motorsports, all while benefitting Speedway Children’s Charities at Texas Motor Speedway. Others being recognized are seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty; defending race winner of Texas Motor Speedway’s Samsung Mobile 500 and AAA Texas 500 Denny Hamlin; five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson; four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon; and veteran motorsports reporter Terry Blount. Force will become the 13th member enshrined into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. He joins previous inductees A.J. Foyt (2003), Johnny Rutherford (‘03), Terry Labonte (‘04), Lee Shepherd (‘04), Kenny Bernstein (‘05), Jim Hall (‘05), Eddie Hill (‘06), Mark Martin (‘07), Jim McElreath (‘07), Bobby Labonte (‘08), Bruton Smith (‘08) and Joe Gibbs (‘09).
    Petty will be honored with the Bruton Smith Legend Award. Hamlin will be awarded the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year. Hamlin became just the second driver in speedway history to sweep both Sprint Cup Series races in the same season – winning April’s Samsung Mobile 500 and November’s AAA Texas 500. Johnson will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Johnson's charitable contributions through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation have helped raise more than $3.5 million for charitable organizations. Gordon also will be recognized for his contributions off the track as he will receive the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. He has championed the efforts of Speedway Children’s Charities through his contributions with the Jeff Gordon Foundation Corvette Raffle.
    Veteran motorsports journalist and Houston native Terry Blount will receive the Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award. Blount’s career has spanned more than 30 years with tenures at some of the largest newspapers in the United States. He has worked at the Houston Post, Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News and currently is a motorsports writer/columnist for ESPN.com. During his career, he has missed only one major race at Texas Motor Speedway since it opened in 1997. Blount has earned numerous writing honors, including the Citation for Writing Excellence from Hearst Newspapers and the Excellence in Journalism Award from the Houston Press Club.(TMS)(3-14-2011)

  • Ware Racing crewmen involved in wreck, one killed: NASCAR’s Rick Ware Racing (RWR) this morning is mourning devastating news after returning home from their NCWTS event at Darlington this past Saturday March 12th, 2011. Dean Shaut and Stephen Masch began assisting RWR this season on the Nationwide and Truck teams as independent contractors were involved in a fatal crash on Friday night March 11th, 2011. The driver of the Toyota Tundra truck Dean Shaut, lost control of his vehicle while driving on Ball Park Road in Thomasville, NC and was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger Stephen Masch was airlifted to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC with spinal cord and head injuries. “All of us at RWR are deeply saddened about the news and are suffering a great loss over this tragic accident” stated team owner Rick Ware. “We can’t express our condolences enough at a time like this to each of the families and words alone right now just don’t express our thoughts enough”.
    Dean was a 20- year veteran of the NSACAR community as a fabricator and mechanic working for such teams over the years such as Hendricks, MB2, Evernham and others.
    Stephen Masch is an independent contract mechanic for the RWR Nationwide #15 team driven by rookie Timmy Hill. Rookie Jeffrey Earnhardt drives the RWR NCWTS team the two men assisted. His wife Sandy, and his two step- children Chris and Megan survive Dean. His brother Rick Shaut, who is a long time employee of Richard Childress Racing, also survives Dean along with his sister-in-law Sandy and his two nieces Sara and Dana.
    Funeral Services for Dean Shaut will be held this Friday March 18th, 2011 at Davidson Funeral Home located at 858 Hickory Tree Road in Winston Salem, NC 27127. Davidson Funeral Home (336) 775-2600. Viewing services will be held from 5-7pm and the memorial services will be held immediately following at 7pm. The family of Dean Shaut respectfully asks that any donations on behalf of Dean Shaut be made to the American Heart Association.(RWR)(3-14-2011)

  • Fans to select paint schemes for show cars at Martinsville: Thru March 17th, fans of Goody’s and BC Powders can help choose a race car paint scheme designed by wounded hero from Wounded Warrior Project, Cory Collins, and Victory Junction camper, Eleanor Bolton, with the assistance of renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass. The designs will be showcased on a race car during pre-race ceremonies on April 3 at the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Beginning March 11 and concluding March 17 at midnight ET, each day fans can “choose” their favorite paint scheme designs for BC and Goody’s by visiting either Goody’s Powder Facebook page or BC Powder Facebook page. More info on my Racing Charities page.(3-14-2011)

  • Every fan to get Cloud Cake at Bristol: Birthdays and anniversaries are always a lot of fun when large groups of people get together to celebrate. On March 20, however, the party at the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City will be the largest ever for the guests in attendance. Naturally, like any good party, Bristol Motor Speedway’s 50th anniversary celebration March 20 will include cake. And thanks to Little Debbie, which also is celebrating its 50th anniversary, every fan through the gates that day will receive their own individually wrapped BMS cake.
    Little Debbie will present every race fan a specially packaged Cloud Cake, marked with Bristol Motor Speedway’s anniversary logo. Among the tens of thousands of cakes that will be doled out are 50 marked with a golden sticker. Fans holding the “Golden Ticket” cakes will receive two tickets to both the Food City 250 and the IRWIN Tools Night Race at BMS Aug. 26-27. They also will receive a $50 gift card from Food City, along with Little Debbie products. For more information concerning tickets, please visit www.bristoltix.com or call the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865).(BMS)(3-14-2011)

  • Free event to all Auto Club 400 ticket holders: Fans attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 27 will not only experience NASCAR’s return to Southern California, but they can also take part in the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk where they’ll take a lap on foot around the very same track where NASCAR drivers will race 5-wide exceeding speeds of 200 mph later in the day. Free for all Auto Club 400 ticket holders, the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk begins at 9 am with a Q&A with Coca-Cola drivers Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip. Following the Q&A is the walk around the 2-mile, D-shape oval. There will be plenty more activities for the whole family, including games, music, special events including a scavenger hunt, Story Time with NASCAR driver Greg Biffle, the opportunity to win special prizes and much more before the Auto Club 400 gets underway. Auto Club Speedway also offers free parking and allows fans to bring in their own food and beverages, making race weekend an incredible value full of fun and entertainment. Tickets to the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, March 27 start as low as $35 and AAA members receive Show Your Card & Save discounts, including a special section with half-priced tickets for kids 12 and under. For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway ticket office.(ACS)(3-14-2011)

  • Bankrupt New Jersey Motorsports Park opens for 2011: The New Jersey Motorsports Park opened for 2011 Saturday, two days after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved a cash collateral plan to keep the park open. Judge Judith H. Wizmur ruled that the facility could use $336,000 from Merrill Lynch interest and escrow accounts. That ruling followed a Monday Chapter 11 filing by park ownership. The park itself isn’t the problem, officials say — the problem is money from projects on adjacent property, including luxury villas and retail space, never materialized due to the economic downturn. According to bankruptcy court documents, the park’s 20 largest creditors are owed more than $33 million.
    But the track was full of motorcycles Saturday, the first of two instructional days held by Absolute Cycle Experience, a Union County-based riding club and school. One of those riders was Casey Tobolewski, 12, of Flemington, Hunterdon County, who will be trying to qualify for U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union certification today. He completed a few practice laps Saturday, flanked by instructors in yellow. Tobolewski has participated in Mini-Grand Prix events at the course in the past. The park’s 2011 schedule begins in earnest April 30 with “The Devil in the Dark,” a 12-hour endurance race, and continues through October. Season passes are available on the park’s website.(Atlantic City Press)(3-14-2011)


    News from March 13, 2011

  • Kurt Busch Qualifies for Gatornationals UPDATE: After a tough Friday at Gainesville Raceway, Kurt Busch bounced back and solidly qualified his Shell-Mopar Dodge in the 12th position on Saturday in the NHRA event, clocking in with a run of 6.532 seconds (211.46 mph). Busch will face (5th-fastest) Erica Enders in first-round eliminations. Sunday action can be seen at 6:00 pm/et on ESPN2.(Kurt Busch site)(3-13-2011)
    UPDATE: Shell-Mopar Dodge Pro Stock driver Kurt Busch achieved his goal of making the starting field in today's 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals here at Gainesville Raceway. However, Busch lost out in the first round of today's eliminations in NHRA Full Throttle competition. "It was great side-by-side racing," Busch said of today's run against Erica Enders, where he came up just a tick short of advancing to the second round. Enders clocked in with an elapsed time of 6.538 seconds (211.69 mph) to Busch's 6.541 seconds (211.59 mph). "Congrats to Erica. She can really wheel a car, that's for sure."
    "What an experience this whole weekend has been," Busch said. "I can't think my crew and Allen Johnson Racing enough for everything they have done for me this weekend. I want to extend a special thanks to the NHRA officials and sponsors, to the media and to all the competitors for the great hospitality I was shown during this memorable weekend. And, of course, thanks to all the great fans – both in NASCAR and NHRA – that have supported me so much in this endeavor and throughout my career. I've had a wonderful weekend off here with my drag racing friends. Now it's time to hunker down and get back into the Cup mode. We have a test scheduled at Gresham on Tuesday and head back to Bristol next weekend looking for our sixth career win there."(Kurt Busch site)(3-13-2011)

  • Kahne wins Darlinton Truck Series race: Kasey Kahne, driving the #18-Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, dominated throughout most of the race and easily held that lead following a late caution with less than four laps remaining to win the Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway. This is the third win for Kahne in just four series starts, and is his second win at Darlington. See full report, news and results on the Jayski Camping World Truck Series site.(3-13-2011)

  • World's Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials at Bristol: Ford NASCAR drivers in a street legal Mustang, a Tony Stewart-owned sprint car, two supermodifieds, and a world superbike champion will attempt to establish half-mile closed course records in the "World's Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials" Saturday, March 19, immediately following the Scotts EZ Seed 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. As part of Bristol Motor Speedway's 50th anniversary celebration, the Speedway extended invitations to several motorsports champions from wide-ranging motorsports disciplines to set class half-mile closed-course records, as well as break the 11-year-old track record.
    Former NASCAR Cup driver Brad Noffsinger, Mike Lichty and Bryan Clauson will chase Sammy Swindell's all-time Bristol track record of 138.442 mph (13.860 seconds), set during qualifying for a World Of Outlaws winged sprint car event at Bristol in June 2000. Noffsinger and Lichty will be first to try out supermodifieds, the most exotic cars to hit Bristol's high banks, while Clauson will run one of Tony Stewart's pavement sprint cars.
    Former AMA and World Superbike Champion Scott Russell will attempt to set a half-mile closed-course motorcycle speed record riding a Yamaha superbike. The five-time Daytona 200 winner brings substantial experience on high banked ovals, though never one as tight as Bristol's half-mile.
    Ford Racing enters its supercharged 2011 Mustang GT to Bristol to establish a half-mile closed course record for street legal cars. Ford NASCAR drivers David Ragan and Marcos Ambrose are expected to drive the ultimate "pony car" into the record books. The Mustang's 5.0 liter engine is topped off by Ford Racing's twin-screw supercharger and cranks out 624 horsepower. To balance all that power with more driver control, the factory suspension comes equipped with a FR3 handling pack and Ford Racing/Brembo big brake kit.
    Competitors will have one hour, from approximately 5 until 6 p.m., to make record runs following the Scotts EZ Seed 300. The "World's Fastest Half-Mile Speed Trials" is a bonus event for the Nationwide Series race ticketholders. The Speed Trials will begin after the conclusion of the Scotts EZ Seed 300. The driver and car line-ups are subject to change.(BMS)(3-13-2011)

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd to Headline Atlanta's Labor Day NASCAR Night Racing Weekend:Atlanta Motor Speedway officials have announced that Lynyrd Skynyrd, the most-celebrated Southern rock band in history, will headline the Fast Cars & Guitars pre-race concert prior to the track's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race on Sunday, Sept. 4. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform a full-length concert on Atlanta Motor Speedway's famed frontstretch as part of the track's pre-race festivities, Fast Cars & Guitars featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd.
    A limited number of stagefront passes for Fast Cars & Guitars featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver introductions are now available for $59 while they last. Stagefront passes will give fans the opportunity to enjoy the pre-race concert and Sprint Cup Series driver introductions while standing on the very track NASCAR's stars will race on that night. As an added bonus for Lynyrd Skynyrd fans, those purchasing stagefront passes prior to March 16 at 5:00 p.m. will be entered to win a meet-and-greet with Lynyrd Skynyrd prior to the Sunday, Sept. 4 NASCAR race and a signed guitar from the band.
    The Lynyrd Skynyrd announcement coincides with the track's general on-sale date for tickets to the Sept. 2-4 Labor Day NASCAR night racing weekend. Adult tickets start at just $39 for NASCAR's biggest night racing weekend and student tickets cost just $19. Fans can reserve their seats for just $20 down by contacting the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office. For more information on Fast Cars & Guitars featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd and Atlanta Motor Speedway's Labor Day NASCAR night racing weekend, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211 or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(3-13-2011)


    News from March 12, 2011

  • Some Notes: The first open week of the season gives drivers a chance to cool off. Some will. Some won't. … Kasey Kahne and Travis Kvapil will both run in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Darlington on Saturday. … Kurt Busch will be attempting to make the field for the GatorNationals NHRA race in Gainesville, Fla. Busch will be out to snare one of the 16 qualifying spots in the Pro Stock class. He will have four qualifying passes to break into the field. … Marcos Ambrose started his own late model team and this weekend will be the first race in which that team competes, at Hickory Motor Speedway. He will also spend some time in the next week panning for gold, a hobby of his. … AJ Allmendinger will be traveling to a karting event this weekend at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C. … Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife, Connie, traveled to his native Colombia. … Kevin Harvick will use this weekend as an opportunity to get stronger: "I think for us, it is more about just looking at the Cup teams and the Nationwide teams and all the parts and pieces that go with it and making sure they are all headed in the right direction. We will use [the open weeks] as wisely as we can. No big plans, just making sure all the racing stuff is heading in the right direction." Click here for audio from Harvick, regarding the open week. … Dave Blaney will head to Anderson, S.C. to watch his son, Ryan, race in a super late model race. … David Reutimann will help rebuild dirt cars with his father Buzzie.(NASCAR)(3-12-2011)

  • Not a good start for Kurt Busch in drag racing: Kurt Busch botched both qualifying passes Friday at the NHRA Gatornationals, leaving him little room for error heading into his final two runs Saturday. "An interesting day to say the least," Busch said. "A lot of rookie things that I'm ready to put behind me. We've done this before. I've done testing, I know what to do, I know what to expect." It sure didn't look that way Friday. The 2004 NASCAR champion smoked his tires on the first run, prompting him to shut down his 1,400-horsepower engine, and covered the quarter-mile strip in 18.334 seconds. It was the slowest time among the 21 competitors. He made even more rookie mistakes during his second attempt. Busch failed to "stage" his dragster within the 7-second time limit and was essentially black flagged. Officially, he "timed out," and his run did not count. "This has too much bitter in it because I'm the one making all the mistakes," Busch said. "This is definitely one of those scenarios where things move so fast when you're doing the burnout and staging." With 12 cars already locked into the finals, Busch is among nine drivers vying for four spots Saturday, when he will get two more passes to turn things around.(Associated Press)(3-12-2011)

  • Las Vegas Police still looking into Gordon-Conway incident: [Las Vegas] Police are still investigating a scuffle between NASCAR drivers Robby Gordon and Kevin Conway last week that prompted the racing series to place Gordon on probation. Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said Friday that no significant injuries and no damage resulted from the March 4 altercation in a garage parking lot at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Cassell says no witnesses were immediately identified after Conway filed a police report alleging misdemeanor battery. The results of the police investigation will go to the Clark County district attorney. Conway briefly drove for Gordon in the Sprint Cup Series last year, and the drivers are suing each other.(ESPN/AP), see past news/updates on the #7 Team News and Links page.(3-12-2011)

  • Sahara Hotel & Casino closing in May; the NASCAR Cafe? Sahara Hotel & Casino [in Las Vegas] announced that it plans to close on May 16, 2011. The hotel houses the NASCAR Cafe, no word on the fate of the attraction/restaurant. The NASCAR Cafe offers American fare on the Las Vegas Strip, features authentic NASCAR stock cars and the world's largest Pontiac Gran Prix stock car, designed by Dale Earnhardt. The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas opened its doors in 1952 and offers 1,720 classically styled guestrooms and Las Vegas suites decorated in a Moroccan motif.(Sahara Hotel & Casino)(3-12-2011)


    News from March 11, 2011

  • Volkswagon not coming to NASCAR: Volkswagen quashed speculation on Thursday that it could expand its motorsport activities to include NASCAR and Formula One. "Nothing for us. There is certainly the one or the other person out there in the world that would wish for that, but we don't have that on the programme," said Ulrich Hackenberg, head of technical development at the Volkswagen brand, when asked about NASCAR. "I should know what I am talking about, since it would come out of my budget." He also ruled out any interest in joining Formula One. There has been speculation for months over whether VW would enter NASCAR with a factory team to bolster its appeal in the U.S. market, where it lags Japanese and Korean carmakers by a large margin.(Yahoo)(3-11-2011)

  • John Andretti has ride for Indy 500: John Andretti will drive the fifth Andretti Autosport car in the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The others will be for IndyCar regulars Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Mike Conway and Danica Patrick.(Indianapolis Star)(3-11-2011)

  • Accell Construction Expands Races with Tommy Baldwin Racing: Accell Construction will expand the company's racing program with Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR). The Oklahoma-based company will partner with TBR for the Jeff Byrd 500 presented by Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and the Kansas Speedway 400 at Kansas Speedway. Accell Construction will also provide associate sponsorship for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, the AAA Texas 500 at TMS, the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and both races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). Accell Construction is a full-service site civil contractor for the petroleum terminal and bulk storage industries. The company specializes in tank farm construction, tank foundations and other related site civil construction. The 20-year-old company operatescivil construction projects in numerous states across the U.S. Accell Construction partnered with Tommy Baldwin Racing at both PIR and Las Vegas Motor Speedway this season, before deciding to increase the company's involvement.(TBR)(3-11-2011)

  • VLRA To Buy NASCAR Birthplace: The historic Streamline Hotel, where NASCAR held its organizational meeting on December 14, 1947, will soon have a new owner. Zetta Baker, one of the founders of Victory Lane Racing Association announced at their annual meeting in February, which was held at the Pelican Bay Country Club, that the organization plans to purchase the hotel. Baker, who is a VLRA boardmember is also handling the purchase for the organization. Victory Lane Racing Association is a not for profit organization based in Daytona Beach, FL. It was formed in 2005 to assist racing families in need. The hotel opened in the late 40's, and was considered the first fire proofed hotel and bomb shelter in the area. Its form of architecture was ahead of its time when Bill France and the other founding members of NASCAR met there. Baker said that as soon as the purchase is completed, information on sponsorships will be made available to racing teams and NASCAR fans.(full story at race500)(3-11-2011)

  • Open house at AMS on March 12th: Atlanta Motor Speedway has added two live radio broadcasts, a pair of show cars and the Coca-Cola racing simulator to the free Open House event scheduled for Saturday, March 12 from 11:00 a.m. through 3:00 pm. Recently added entertainment at Atlanta Motor Speedway's free Open House event will include live broadcasts by WSB-AM 750 with Capt. Herb Emory and WJGA-FM 92.1 with Don Earnhart, the Coca-Cola racing simulator and Coca-Cola NASCAR show car, and a Jack Smith show car from the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Previously scheduled entertainment at the free Open House event includes short-track racing action and exclusive discounts. More info on the open house at atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(3-11-2011)

  • Billy Ray Cyrus to sing National Anthem for Jeff Byrd 500: Country music star Billy Ray Cyrus will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City March 20 at Bristol Motor Speedway. A multi-platinum selling artist who has released 11 albums and 38 singles over the last two decades, Cyrus has scored eight top-10 singles on the Billboard Country Songs chart. The Walt Disney Records label singer also will perform his hit "Some Gave All" during the pre-race show. Carter's Chord, composed of sisters Becky, Emily and Joanna Robertson, will sing the national anthem March 19 for the Scotts EZ Seed 300. Tickets for the Jeff Byrd 500 are available for $93, while tickets for the Scotts EZ Seed 300 (March 19) start at $45. Ford Fan Friday tickets (March 18) are only $5 and are just $4 for fans who have tickets to the Jeff Byrd 500. A March race weekend package for both the Scotts EZ Seed 300 and the Jeff Byrd 500 can be purchased for as low as $99. For more information concerning tickets, please visit www.bristoltix.com or call the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865).(BMS)(3-11-2011)

  • Pocono Raceway Honored: The Pocono Raceway Solar Project has been recognized as the winner of the 2011 Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards, Readers Choice Award. Of the hundreds of nominees, The Pocono Raceway Solar Project was one of four finalists selected by the Renewable Energy World Network of Editors. Pocono Raceway's Solar Project was recognized for its achievements in developing the world's largest solar-powered sports facility. The award was announced at the Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo in Tampa, Florida on March 8, 2011.
    The Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo has been a leading event in the renewable industry for eight years. Jim Callihan, President of RenewableEnergyWorld.com, said of the winner, "Pocono Raceway exemplifies the kind of company that will lead our economy to the next generation of energy excellence and make our planet a safer, cleaner place for the future."(Pocono Raceway)(3-11-2011)

  • Good Charlotte to perform at Auto Club: Auto Club Speedway announced that multi-platinum rock sensation Good Charlotte will perform on the DiscoverIE FanZone Entertainment Stage prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 race on Sunday, March 27. Tickets to the Auto Club 400, which include the Good Charlotte live pre-race performance, start as low as $35. Good Charlotte band members – vocalist Joel Madden, guitarist Benji Madden, guitarist Billy Martin, bassist Paul Thomas and drummer Dean Butterworth – have sold 10 million records and scored numerous mainstream radio hits including "Like It's Her Birthday," "The Anthem," "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," "Hold On" and "Girls and Boys." Get the Good Charlotte ticket package before it expires on Friday, March 18, or while supplies last. For more information or to purchase the Good Charlotte ticket package, call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket Office.(ACS)(3-11-2011)


    News from March 10, 2011

  • NASCAR hall's losses reach $1 million: The NASCAR Hall of Fame lost $187,983 in January, pushing its cumulative loss for the fiscal year to $1.03 million. The hall's total attendance for the month was 23,177, which includes nearly 12,000 people who visited for free during a one-week open house. Before the hall opened in May, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority projected the hall would have a surplus of roughly $700,000 for its first year. But that budget has since been revised, and the CRVA now forecasts a loss of $1.29 million for fiscal year 2011. The good news for the CRVA is that the hall's financial performance is now matching the revised budget. In its revised budget, the CRVA had projected a loss of $1.07 million through January. That means the hall is slightly ahead of its new budget. The hall probably will have two more lean months in February and March before crowds grow again in April, May and June.(Charlotte Observer)(3-10-2011)

  • Final TV Ratings for Vegas up: Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Las Vegas earned a 5.9/12 (10.8 million viewers), which is +34% better than last year's 4.4/9 when the race went head-to-head with the gold medal hockey game at the Vancouver Olympics. Sunday's race also posted huge gains on average viewership (+41%, 10.8 mill. vs. 7.2), Men 18-34 (+46%, 1.9 vs. 1.3), Men 18-49 (+36%, 3.8 vs. 2.8) and Men 25-54 (+37%, 5.2 vs. 3.8). Sunday's race also easily ranked as the highest-rated and most-watched sports programming of the weekend. Through three races NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 7.0/15 and 12.4 million viewers. Compared to 2009 NASCAR is down slightly on rating (-1%) but up slightly on viewership (+2%). See past 2011 TV Ratings and the four year race comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-10-2011)

  • NASCAR chairman Brian France transcript: On Wednesday, March 9, NASCAR chairman Brian France held a conference call with NASCAR reporters and addressed many topics concerning NASCAR, including: TV Ratings, attendance at tracks, the early off weekend, the possible NFL lockout, Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., competition of the races so far, fuel prices, lack of a post-race show, next generation of car, ethanol, 2012 schedule, the diversity program, rough driving, racing at Daytona. See the full interview on the Brian France March 2011 Transcript page.(3-10-2010)

  • Meet-and-Greet with Racing Legends During Hall of Fame Night: Race fans are invited to a limited engagement dinner and meet-and-greet event featuring six NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees during the inaugural Hall of Fame Night at The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event will take place March 12 at 6 p.m., following the Charlotte SpeedFest event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees scheduled to appear at The Speedway Club include Bobby Allison, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Bud Moore, David Pearson and Richard Petty. Individual tickets are $150 and corporate tables are also available. Each ticket includes a three-course dinner from the award-winning chefs at The Speedway Club and a special commemorative gift. The deadline to RSVP for the Hall of Fame Night is March 4. For reservations, contact The Speedway Club at (704) 455-3252.(CMS)(3-10-2011)


    News from March 9, 2011

  • No changes in All-Star Race: Charlotte Motor Speedway president Marcus Smith announced that there will be no changes to the format for this year’s Sprint All-Star Race, which is scheduled for May 21. That’s a departure from past All-Star races, which typically have some sort of new field inversion or segment change each year. “The big change is that there’s not going to be a change,” Smith said. The race will include 100 laps run in four segments, the first of which will feature 50 laps with a mandatory green-flag pit stop at Lap 25. The second and third segments are 20 laps each, followed by a 10-minute break and a final segment of 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting.
    The field for the 27th All-Star Race will consist of race winners from the previous or current years, in addition to winners of the All-Star Race and the Sprint Cup championship from the past 10 years. Two drivers will race their way into the field through the Sprint Showdown, which precedes the main event, and one driver will qualify through votes from race fans. #88-Dale Earnhardt, who last won the All-Star Race in 2000, is no longer exempt into the field, but he’s all but assured of winning the fan vote, should he remain winless between now and May 21.(Sporting News), see current eligible drivers on the 2011 Sprint All-Star Race page.(3-9-2011)

  • Biffle and Pilots Uninjured in Minor Incident UPDATE: Roush Fenway’s #16-Greg Biffle and his two pilots were involved in a minor incident this morning while landing at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky. A mechanical failure during the landing caused the airplane to skid to a stop on the runway. No one on board the aircraft was injured.(Roush Fenway Racing)(3-9-2011)
    UPDATE: Amy Caudill, a spokeswoman for the airport, said the private plane's right landing gear collapsed as it was taxiing at 10:52 a.m. Caudill said the airport did not classify the incident as a crash; it was a "mechanical failure," she said. The plane was landing on the airport's main commercial runway. The runway was closed for about two hours while crews towed the plane and cleaned up debris, she said. Five flights were affected, including a plane that was in the air and had to divert to Louisville until the runway was clear, she said. Several departures were delayed. Biffle lives in Mooresville, N.C. He was in Lexington on business, a NASCAR spokeswoman said.(Lexington Herald Leader)
    AND As Greg Biffle's plane arrived at Blue Grass Airport, from North Carolina, the landing gear collapsed. That forced airport officials to close the main runway for hours. Biffle said his Falcon 20 airplane is his pride and joy. He's never had problems with it until now. Biffle uses the plane quite often when he's not racing. "Five years I've been with that plane," Biffle said. "We fly about 200 to 300 hours a year, so we put a lot of time into it. It's been a great airplane." But today's landing was unlike any other for Biffle, and his two pilots, as the landing gear collapsed. "I realized that the side of the plane was low to the ground, and I looked out the window and I could see the sparks coming off the wings at the ground," Biffle said. "So at that point I knew we had problems." Biffle says they're very lucky the plane remained on the runway. For a couple of hours, emergency crews and officials worked to remove it, temporarily shutting down the runway and all flights. "I was worried," Biffle said. "I'm a pilot myself and I'm looking out the front window at how much runway we had left and knew we were ok if it stayed on the runway. When it goes off the runway, it's a whole different element, a whole different case of problems." Biffle says he has been in a minor plane crash before, but not with this plane. He flew home today, to North Carolina, where he says he plans to regroup.(WKYT)(3-9-2011)

  • What would points standings look like if 2010 system used?:(the top 10)
    Rank, Driver, 2010 Points, New Points Rank
    1) Tony Stewart, 455 points, 1st in current points system
    2) Kurt Busch, 450, 2
    3) Carl Edwards, 444, 3
    4) Juan Pablo Montoya, 431, 4
    5) Ryan Newman, 422, 5
    6) Paul Menard, 387, 6
    7) Martin Truex Jr., 387, 8
    8) Denny Hamlin, 386, 7
    9) A J Allmendinger, 379, 9
    10) Dale Earnhardt Jr., 372, 11
    See full standings [after the current official standings] on the 2011 Drivers Points Standing page.(3-9-2011)

  • Some Notes after Three Sprint Cup races:
    • Three different winners – first time since 2007 there hasn't been a repeat winner in the first three races.
    • Two of the first three races (Daytona and Phoenix) broke records for lead changes. Las Vegas featured 21 lead changes, the most since 2007's track record of 28.
    • Two of the three races (Phoenix and Las Vegas) had qualifying records fall.
    • There has been an average of 16 leaders per race – most ever through three races.
    • There has been an average of 41 lead changes – most ever through three races.
    • There has been an average of 4,609 passes and 55 passes for the lead all around the track, second-most through three races since the inception of Loop Data in 2005.
    • The average margin of victory is 0.834 seconds, the closest in three years.(NASCAR)(3-9-2011)

  • 2011 Kyle Petty Charity Ride announced: Approximately 200 motorcycle enthusiasts, NASCAR fans and Victory Junction supporters will hit the road May 7 – 14, 2011 for the 17th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The Ride will travel from Lake Placid, N.Y. to Amelia Island, Fla. to raise awareness and funds for Victory Junction. As they travel across the country, the Charity Ride participants will greet fans and supporters at overnight stops in Corning, N.Y.; Farmington, Pa.; Irvington, Va.; Wilmington, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; and Amelia Island, Fla.
    For the first time, organizers have invited four riders to join AutoWeek's grizzled NASCAR correspondent and tour veteran Al Pearce on what we're proudly calling Team AutoWeek.(3-9-2011)

  • Biffle walks & talks with 2,000 kids: Greg Biffle made about 2,000 new fans Tuesday morning at Martinsville Speedway and it only took two laps around the historic half-mile oval. Biffle stopped by the speedway to talk physical fitness to elementary school students from Martinsville and Henry County and to lead them in a brisk two-lap walk around the track. Biffle spent much of the two laps chatting with youngsters, high-fiving and giving hugs to his new fans. When the laps were finished, he hung out with youngsters and teachers, posed for pictures and signed autographs until the last bus pulled out. Biffle will be making his 300th career Sprint Cup Series start in the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-9-2011)

  • Dodge awards Keselowski special Dodge Challenger: In celebration of its first NASCAR Nationwide Series championship, Dodge awarded 2010 champion Brad Keselowski with "The Biggest Trophy In NASCAR – Imported From Detroit – today during ceremonies at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dodge Motorsports' Bryan Viger handed over the keys to a 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, a BKR (Brad Keselowski Racing) Commemorative Edition high-performance street vehicle custom built by the "Mopar Underground" team at Chrysler Group LLC in Auburn Hills, Mich. During his 2010 record-breaking season, Keselowski recorded six wins, 26 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes in the No. 22 Discount Tire/Ruby Tuesday Dodge from Penske Racing.
    Custom features on the vehicle include;
    • Deep Water Blue paint from the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Inaugural Edition along with hood, roof and rear decklid finished in matte black and accented with grabber blue pin stripe.
    • Custom 22-inch Forgiato wheels carry matte black powder coated paint and grabber blue pin stripes added to the outside wheel lips.
    • Standard 392 HEMI fender badges have been moved to each side of the hood and replaced with 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion decals on both fenders
    • Modified interior features Smooth Pearl White leather-trimmed seats and dual blue stripes accented by unique blue stitching from the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Inaugural Edition model.
    • Under the hood is the 392-cubic inch HEMI® V-8 powertrain pumping out 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque
    o Newest HEMI engine in the SRT product lineup provides 45 more horsepower and an additional 90 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,900 rpm versus the previous 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine
    o Fuel Saver technology (four-cylinder mode) improves fuel economy 15-percent on the highway versus the previous 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine
    • Stock exhaust system is replaced with new Corsa-tuned system from Mopar
    (Dodge Motorsports)(3-9-2011)

  • Charlotte SpeedFest Fan Appreciation Day: Charlotte Motor Speedway and motorsports entities across the region are putting fans first and celebrating the area's racing roots as only Charlotte can by offering a fun-filled day for the whole family with the first-ever Charlotte SpeedFest. Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and area race teams including Roush Fenway Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing will say "thank you" to race fans with a fan appreciation day taking place on March 12, from 10:00 am/et to 3:00pm/et. The event coincides with the first 2011 off-weekend for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
    Presented by 3M, Charlotte SpeedFest activities at the speedway will include:
    - Free tours of Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMAX Dragway and free shuttles offered to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
    - Appearances and autographs by NASCAR celebrities including SPEED television personalities, Miss Sprint Cup and motorsports artist Sam Bass.
    - Special one-day-only ticket offers for the May race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway, including the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, plus discounts on merchandise in the Charlotte Motor Speedway gift shop.
    - Free vouchers for NASCAR Hall of Fame simulator rides available at the speedway ticket office.
    - Free photo opportunities with NASCAR show cars, Miss Sprint Cup, Sprint show car and the Sprint Cup trophy.
    - Free tours and behind-the-microphone photo opportunities in the Performance Racing Network studios.
    - Free video game entertainment with the Coca-Cola Fan Van.
    - Activities for the kids including the Powerade Play Zone with inflatable slides and bounce houses, a petting zoo, face painting and appearances by Lug Nut, the world's fastest mascot.
    - Affordable concessions plus free popcorn in the speedway ticket office.
    - Live music on the Avenue of Flags at the speedway's main entrance.
    The Roush Fenway Racing gift shop and museum in Concord will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for Charlotte SpeedFest featuring 15-percent discounts on all 2011 merchandise plus a free 3D-gaming show car simulator display.
    At Hendrick Motorsports, also in Concord, the museum and team store will be open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on March 12 and feature 15-percent discounts on all regularly priced merchandise, plus fans will receive a free Jimmie Johnson team championship hat with purchases of $50 or more. An interactive racing simulator will also be a free attraction for children of all ages.
    In Huntersville, N.C., Joe Gibbs Racing will offer 20-percent discounts at the gift shop in conjunction with the team's celebration of 20 years in NASCAR.
    Further announcements will be made in the coming weeks regarding new activities added to Charlotte SpeedFest and details will be posted at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com as they are confirmed.
    Tickets for all Spring Season of Speed events at Charlotte Motor Speedway are on sale now. Frontstretch tickets with the best views of pit road and the world's largest HD video board, coming to the speedway in May, start at just $49 for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race or two for just $99 to the Coca-Cola 600. For more information, call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or go online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(3-9-2011)

  • Texas Motor Speedway first NASCAR track to be featured on License Plate: Texas Motor Speedway will become the first NASCAR track to be featured on a state license plate as the speedway has partnered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to provide Texans with a customized plate. The customized license plate is emblazoned with the iconic Texas Motor Speedway logo and accompanied with the famous tagline, “The Great American Speedway!” The plate also features a traditional checkered flag in the background. “We are excited that Texas Motor Speedway’s loyal race fans will be able to show their support 24/7 as they drive across the Lone Star State,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “Texas Motor Speedway is home to the most loyal race fans, so I foresee these plates being seen all over Texas’ highways.” The made-to-order plates currently are available for pre-order and will be released in May. The personalized plate costs $55 for one year, $195 for five years or $295 for 10 years. The plate is available by visiting www.myplates.com or by calling (888) 769-7528.(TMS)(3-9-2011)

  • Grub-N-Rub at Martinsville: Fans can get the best racing and best food Martinsville Speedway has to offer with SPEED TV’s Grub-N-Rub package for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 weekend. The bargain-priced offer from SPEED includes a ticket for the Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on April 2, a ticket for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on April 3 and admission to a breakfast that will include appearances by NASCAR Camping World Truck series drivers along with SPEED personalities. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers set to appear at Grub-N-Rub include Brendan Gaughan, Max Papis, Austin Dillon and Joey Coulter. The $85 price tag, $30 for children 18 and under, includes a reserved ticket in the Bill France Tower for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 and general admission seating for the Kroger 250. It also includes a breakfast in Martinsville Speedway’s hospitality area at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Gaughan, Papis, Dillon and Coulter will all make appearances during the breakfast for a question and answer session. They will be joined by SPEED personalities. Tickets for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, April 3, the Kroger 250 on Saturday, April 2 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Truck Series Practice Day on Friday, April 1 are on sale and can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-9-2011)

  • NJ Motorsports Park seeks bankruptcy protection: New Jersey Motorsports Park on Monday signaled it is in financial trouble and filed court papers seeking federal bankruptcy court protection. The Motorsports Park, entering its fourth year of operations, said its 2011 racing season would go on as planned even as it seeks a judge's agreement on a proposal to balance its books and settle with creditors. A petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was filed in midafternoon with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden. There will be no layoffs because of the filing, according to a statement from park officials. City officials deplored the impact on an undetermined number of local businesses that have overdue accounts with the park. Those creditors now face a long, uncertain recovery. Officials say the city government itself is not financially at risk, however. The park is current on all municipal tax and utility bills as well as repayment of a $600,000 municipal loan, city officials said. Motorsports Park Managing Partner Lee Brahin and General Manager Brad Scott announced the court filing. "Our overall plan for the future is still sound," Brahin said. "Our renegotiated debt financing will enable us to move forward with our existing operational plan, although we will continue to reduce operating expenses and are in the process of renegotiating debt with vendors." Scott said the park's principal lender, Bank of America, already has forgiven some of its debt while restructuring the park's mortgage. The current owners also are putting more of their own money into the operation, some of which could go to creditors, he said. The park was conceived as a venue that could draw motorsports events and fans for the better part of the year, but in relatively small crowds of 10,000 to 30,000 people.(Daily Journal)(3-9-2011)


    News from March 8, 2011

  • Some teams get a free lunch: Stein5 LLC, the local independent franchisee for Five Guys Burgers and Fries, will provide lunch for winning Mooresville-based NASCAR race teams during the 2011 season, franchise co-owner Jeff Steiner said. Teams will also compete for the first annual "Brown Bag Championship Trophy," which Five Guys will award to the Mooresville-based team with the best winning performance in races for 2011. Twenty Mooresville-based teams with 40 cars and trucks plan to compete in NASCAR's top three series in 2011, Steiner said. If a Mooresville-based team wins a Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck race in 2011, Five Guys will bring burgers to the race shop on the Tuesday after the win. Team shops will accumulate points throughout the season: three points for a win, two for second place and one for third place. The team shop with the most points will receive the Brown Bag Champion's Trophy and lunch for the entire shop after the season.
    Qualifying Mooresville teams are FAS Lane Racing, Germain Racing, JR Motorsports, Key Motorsports, Kyle Busch Motorsports, Mac Hill Motorsports, MacDonald Motorsports, MaxQ Motorsports, NEMCO Motorsports, Penske Racing, Red Bull Racing, Red Horse Racing, Rusty Wallace Inc., SS Green Light Racing, Status Racing, Tommy Baldwin Racing, TRG Motorsports, Turner Motorsports, Vision Aviation Racing and Whitney Motorsports. Fans and teams can follow the weekly results and Five Guys' team lunches on the company's website, www.mooresvillefive.com/brownbag. Five Guys is celebrating five years at 654 River Highway (N.C. 150 West), across from Morrison Plantation Parkway.(Charlotte Observer)(3-8-2011)

  • Robby Gordon, Conway have altercation in garage UPDATE 4 probation: #7-Robby Gordon has been placed on immediate probation for an unspecified period after a post-qualifying incident in the Sprint Cup Series garage Friday evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR wouldn't specifically say what Gordon did, but described its probation move as an "emergency action." "His actions were brought to our attention early last evening," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We met this morning and reviewed the situation, and have reacted accordingly. We will continue to look at this situation involving Robby Gordon." NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton described the incident as a "heated discussion" but wouldn't confirm it was a physical confrontation because he didn't personally witness it, nor did any NASCAR officials. "You'll have to find somebody that actually saw it," Pemberton said. The incident was brought to NASCAR's attention by Conway, Pemberton said. Conway will not be penalized. Gordon and Conway didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The two have had recent battles in the legal system over money.(SB Nation)(3-5-2011)
    UPDATE: Neither Gordon nor Conway would talk about the incident, but Conway said he had filed a police report about the incident - giving the indication that it was physical - and said all comment would come from the police or NASCAR. Gordon said he couldn't comment because of the legal issues that already had existed between the two. Conway drove for Gordon in six races last year and they are involved in lawsuits with each other - Gordon has sued Conway sponsor Extenze in California while Conway has sued Gordon in North Carolina. Gordon said Saturday that Conway is asking for $27,000 in money from winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie award from last year. Gordon said Saturday that he would pay Conway once he gets the $690,000 from Extenze.(Scene Daily)(3-5-2011)
    UPDATE 2: "It's simple," Gordon says of the financial dispute. "I'll pay him his money when he pays me my money….because he couldn't have earned that money if I hadn't put that car out on the track." The two men are making court depositions in that dispute. Conway declined to discuss the situation. Gordon described the confrontation as verbal: "He got in my face...and I told him...well, if he wants to go to the police, that's, well..." Gordon actually used slightly more colorful language in describing the encounter.(MikeMulhern.net)(3-7-2011)
    UPDATE 3: Kevin Conway released a statement Monday evening: "I don't mind stiff competition, but I want to make sure the hard facts are told. First and foremost, I love being a part of NASCAR and have worked very hard to earn the privilege of competing in the Sprint Cup Series. On Friday night, Robby Gordon, who has a long history of issues in NASCAR decided to ambush me in the garage area at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, completely unprovoked. Robby even confronted Joe Nemechek, my car owner, on pit road during Cup Series qualifying shoving him and telling him that he was looking for me and going to assault me. We have many witnesses including a crew chief that signed a police report documenting the truth of his physical attack on me. Situations like this are not good for our sport. It's one thing if we were racing each other and I wrecked him or he wrecked me, that's an entirely different situation. It's very unfortunate that he chose to physically attack me to address his rage. Our fans, sponsors and NASCAR expect and deserve more from our competitors than this bullish, illegal behavior that was displayed by Robby against me."(ExtenZe Racing)(3-8-2011)

    UPDATE 4 - OFFICIAL Probation: NASCAR announced that Robby Gordon, driver of the #7 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been placed on probation until Dec. 31 for a rule infraction he committed March 4 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gordon was penalized for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved in an altercation in the garage area with another competitor) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR)(3-8-2011)

  • Fox to air Daytona 500 documentary: NASCAR and FOX Sports announced that the Sprint Cup Series' open weekend in mid-March will now deliver a never-before-seen look at the 2011 Daytona 500. Co-produced by Emmy Award winning NASCAR Media Group and FOX Sports, "The Daytona 500: The American Dream" will be a one-hour documentary special delivering fresh and never-before-seen footage from Trevor Bayne's historic run to Victory Lane. "The Daytona 500: The American Dream" will air on Sunday, March 13 at 1 p.m. ET. A few highlights of the documentary:
    • NASCAR on FOX announcers Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip describing how Bayne caught their eye with his third fastest qualifying speed.
    • Three-time Daytona 500 Champion, Jeff Gordon, speaking in great detail about how he trusted a rookie to safely push him to the front of the field.
    • Audio of Bayne's pre-race prayer in which we hear him ask his crew to "keep the faith."
    • Donnie Wingo, Bayne's crew chief, telling the story of his crew repairing the #21 Ford just two days before the Daytona 500 after a last-lap accident in the Gatorade Duel at Daytona.(NASCAR)(3-8-2011)

  • Pit Road Party Zone access available at Bristol: Gaining infield access at Bristol Motor Speedway is a top priority for many race fans. However, acquiring admission to the pit area has been very limited due to space restrictions - until the advent of the Pit Road Party Zone. Hundreds of fans enjoyed the Pit Road Party Zone last August and now it is available for the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City at BMS March 20. Located behind the backstretch pits of Bristol Motor Speedway, party guests have the best seats in the house and receive a number of special amenities, including elevated viewing platforms and appearances by Jeff Burton and other NASCAR celebrities. Pre-race entertainment will feature a live band, bar areas and each fan receives a commemorative BMS souvenir, lunch and snacks. Access to the Pit Road Party Zone, where grandstand tickets are not required, is limited to the first 300 fans. Cost is $400 per person. Tickets may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office toll free at 1-866-415-4158 or 423-BRISTOL (274-7865).(BMS)(3-8-2011)


    News from March 7, 2011

  • Waltrip Signs Extension with FOX Sports: FOX Sports' Darrell Waltrip has signed a two-year contract extension to continue as lead analyst for the network's Emmy Award-winning NASCAR on FOX coverage. Waltrip's agreement with FOX Sports now extends through the network's current rights agreement with the sport, which expires in 2014. As a legendary stock car driver turned broadcasting fixture with race fans, Waltrip remains committed to entertaining viewers through his candid analysis and homespun analogies each and every weekend during the NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup schedule. The two-time NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee and three-time NASCAR Champion is thrilled to continue "double duty" as a NASCAR on FOX prerace and race analyst, a rare duel role in sports broadcasting. "Being part of the NASCAR on FOX team has given me an opportunity to share my passion and love for NASCAR. I never thought there would be anything that could replace the thrill of driving race cars. I was wrong. Bringing that thrill to the fans at home every week is just as exciting!" exclaimed Waltrip.(Fox Sports)(3-7-2011)

  • Las Vegas TV Ratings rise: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX posted a solid 5.3/11 Sunday for the Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas, up 29% over last year's 4.1/8. Y Sunday's race marked the third consecutive time that a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race on FOX was up over the previous year, and for the third consecutive time, it ranked as the top-rated event of the weekend. Yesterday's gains in the top ten markets: Los Angeles (+44%), Chicago (+136%), Philadelphia (+76%), Dallas (+81%), Boston (+84%), and Washington DC. (+39%). Yesterday's telecast opened up with a 4.5/10, and grew steadily throughout the telecast peaking at a 6.2/12. Season-to-date, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX is averaging a 6.3/13 through three races, up 17% over last year's 5.4/11 and flat with 2009. For season TV Ratings so far and year-by-year comparsion's on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-7-2011)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Kobalt Tools 400: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on during these races, here is the breakdown for Sunday's race. Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 117
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 54
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:00 pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:14 pm
    Total minutes: 194
    Minutes of race broadcast: 142
    Minutes of commercials: 52
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 0
    Digger sightings: 10
    For driver focus, past races, links see the 2011 TV Commercials Page.(3-7-2011)

  • Robby Gordon, Conway have altercation in garage: UPDATES: #7-Robby Gordon has been placed on immediate probation for an unspecified period after a post-qualifying incident in the Sprint Cup Series garage Friday evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR wouldn't specifically say what Gordon did, but described its probation move as an "emergency action." "His actions were brought to our attention early last evening," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We met this morning and reviewed the situation, and have reacted accordingly. We will continue to look at this situation involving Robby Gordon." NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton described the incident as a "heated discussion" but wouldn't confirm it was a physical confrontation because he didn't personally witness it, nor did any NASCAR officials. "You'll have to find somebody that actually saw it," Pemberton said. The incident was brought to NASCAR's attention by Conway, Pemberton said. Conway will not be penalized. Gordon and Conway didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The two have had recent battles in the legal system over money.(SB Nation)(3-5-2011)
    UPDATE: Neither Gordon nor Conway would talk about the incident, but Conway said he had filed a police report about the incident – giving the indication that it was physical – and said all comment would come from the police or NASCAR. Gordon said he couldn't comment because of the legal issues that already had existed between the two. Conway drove for Gordon in six races last year and they are involved in lawsuits with each other – Gordon has sued Conway sponsor Extenze in California while Conway has sued Gordon in North Carolina. Gordon said Saturday that Conway is asking for $27,000 in money from winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie award from last year. Gordon said Saturday that he would pay Conway once he gets the $690,000 from Extenze.(Scene Daily)(3-5-2011)
    UPDATE 2: "It's simple," Gordon says of the financial dispute. "I'll pay him his money when he pays me my money….because he couldn't have earned that money if I hadn't put that car out on the track." The two men are making court depositions in that dispute. Conway declined to discuss the situation. Gordon described the confrontation as verbal: "He got in my face….and I told him….well, if he wants to go to the police, that's, well…." Gordon actually used slightly more colorful language in describing the encounter.(MikeMulhern.net)(3-7-2011)

  • Michigan launches Fan-to-Fan support group: Unmatched in its commitment to the guest experience, MIS officials have launched the MIS Fan-to-Fan Support Group, a first-of-its-kind collection of race fans who guide, share suggestions and lead discussions with other race fans. No holds barred - all questions answered. No kidding. Michigan International Speedway's Fan Advisory Board (FAB), a 20-member cross-section of MIS ticketholders, serves as the Fan-to-Fan authority. Race fans who log onto www.MISpeedway.com's PREPARE YOUR VISIT tab are encouraged to click the ASK AN MIS FAN link to submit a question via e-mail. A drop-down box allows the fan to select the topic of their question. Subject matter experts are available for questions about everything racetrack-related including traffic, camping, hospitality, pit passes, seating, ticket, gates and facility questions.(MIS)(3-7-2011)

  • Pre-race pit passes available at Richmond: Richmond International Raceway is bringing you closer to the action than ever before with Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes for the upcoming Spring NASCAR Weekend. You can watch NASCAR pole qualifying and practice from the perspective of a NASCAR crew member and see the stock cars from just a few feet away as they rumble down pit road, giving you an unforgettable experience of the sights and sounds that only NASCAR can produce. For the first time ever, America's Premier Short Track is offering fans individual Friday Pre-Race Pit Passes this season. For just $50 per person, you can enjoy pole qualifying and practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series.(RIR)(3-7-2011)

  • Buy a program at Bristol, get a poster: Collectors of Bristol Motor Speedway's souvenir programs are in for a special treat as both the March and August editions will commemorate the storied track's 50th anniversary. Both programs feature golden covers with numerous stories and photos that trace the history of the World's Fastest Half-Mile. And with the purchase of the program comes a one-of-a-kind poster that is sure to become a collector's item itself. The poster for the March race spotlights winners from the first 50 spring events at BMS, dating back to 1961. Legends such as Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson are featured, along with some of today's stars, like Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton. The August poster features all winners from Bristol Motor Speedway's second race.(BMS)(3-7-2011)


    News from March 6, 2011

  • Edwards wins at Las Vegas: #99-Carl won the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2011 and the 19th win of his career. He took the lead by taking two tires during green flag pit stops near the end of the race. #14-Stewart, who dominated most of the race and lost the lead by taking 4 tires during his final pit, finished 2nd, followed by #42-Montoya, #9-Ambrose, #39-Newman, #56-Truex, Jr., #11-Hamlin, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #22-Busch, and #83-Vickers. Pole sitter #17-Kenseth cut a tire early and battled back to finish 11th. Point leader coming into the race, #18-Kurt Busch lost an engine. He finished 38th.
    Stewart and Kurt Busch now share the points lead with 113 points. They are 7 points ahead of #14-Stewart & #42-Montoya.
    There were 21 lead changes among 14 leaders with 7 cautions for 35 laps.
    See race results, awards and more on the Las Vegas Race Results page.
    For points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page and the Owners Points Standings page. (3-6-2011)

  • Danica gets best NASCAR finish for a woman: Anyone who says Danica Patrick had her best NASCAR finish Saturday because of fuel mileage is dead wrong. Patrick made history with her fourth-place finish, the best ever for a woman in a national NASCAR event. That record stood for 62 years. Sara Christian finished fifth at Pittsburgh in 1949 during NASCAR's inaugural season. Patrick is the first woman to lead a lap at Indianapolis and Daytona, the first woman to win a major open-wheel event and the first woman to finish in the top four in a NASCAR touring-series race. (ESPN.com)(3-6-2011)

  • Should drivers communicate with each other during races? UPDATE: Drivers were able to communicate with non-teammates for the first time during the Daytona 500, which added an intriguing element to NASCAR's biggest race. Because there was a need for two-car tandems to work together while the race was going on, many drivers set their radios up so they could speak with their competitors. But some drivers believe the practice should be banned. "I think NASCAR should step in on drivers getting on other teams' radios," #22-Kurt Busch said. "... We shouldn't be able to communicate with radios." #5-Mark Martin had only four drivers among his options for chatting: His three teammates and #43-AJ Allmendinger. But the veteran agreed with Busch, saying he hopes his competitors "clean the radios up." #27-Paul Menard said he had 12 different drivers on his radio during the Daytona 500 - and was just fine with continuing the practice for future restrictor-plate races if NASCAR doesn't pass a rule against it. #99-Carl Edwards backed the open radio communication between drivers based on safety reasons, calling it "necessary."(SB Nation)(2-26-2011)
    UPDATE: According to Mike Mulhern, "NASCAR's Robin Pemberton says no changes planned for radio rules for Talladega April 17th.(3-6-2011)

  • Victory Junction Midwest moving forward: Pattie Petty, wife of former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, is so serious about making sure the Victory Junction Midwest camp planned for Wyandotte County becomes a reality, she has moved to Kansas City. Victory Junction Midwest, a year-round facility for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, was to open by the end of 2011, but it ran into some unexpected problems last year. First, the original piece of property - on 71 acres at 8205 Riverview in Kansas City, Kan. - was deemed unsuitable for a hospital after soil samples were examined during excavation. Also, Mike Lepore, the camp's original president, left last summer for another job in Chicago, which put the project behind in its fund-raising efforts. The Pettys have identified another 70-to-80-acre location for the $35 million camp closer to Kansas Speedway and the Village West retail area than the original site. A benefactor will help buy the property, and once the core drilling and other preliminary studies are complete, they hope to announce the location in the next two weeks.(Kansas City Star)(3-6-2011)

  • Quaker State to Sponsor Inaugural Kentucky Cup race: Quaker State announced it will be the title sponsor of the first ever Sprint Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway. The Quaker State 400 will be held at the first new track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule since 2001. Quaker State will drop the green flag at the newly-expanded, 117,000-capacity Speedway Motorsports, Inc. facility at 7:30 p.m., July 9. The 400-mile event will conclude a tripleheader NASCAR weekend that opens with a 225-mile Camping World Truck Series battle on July 7 and spotlights a 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series event on July 8. Twenty-nine-year Sprint Cup Series veteran and 40-time race winner Mark Martin will pilot the Hendrick Motorsports #5 Quaker State Chevy during the historic weekend.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-6-2011)

  • Breakfast with the Bagman ticket option at Dover: Dover International Speedway has created a special, all-inclusive "Breakfast with the Bagman" package, featuring Delaware's own Mike Bagley, for the Sunday, May 15, 2011 Sprint Cup Series event. The $99 option includes a ticket to the race in sections 202-204, an all-you-can-eat hot breakfast buffet, a souvenir program, and a question-and-answer session with Bagley and friends. Bagley is an on-air turn announcer with MRN radio, and also serves as co-host of The Morning Drive on Sirius XM NASCAR radio. He has strong ties to the area, growing up in Milford, Del., approx. 15 miles south of Dover International Speedway. Mike served for a short time as a PA announcer on race weekend in Dover, and went on to join MRN in 1992.(Dover)(3-6-2011)

  • Food City Race Night at Bristol March 18: The star power for Food City Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway continues to grow with the addition of Pepsi MAX driver Jeff Gordon. Gordon is scheduled to participate in a question and answer session Friday, March 18 in the hospitality area at 6 p.m. Gordon's teammate, five-time and defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, takes part in the evening's activities as well, as he attempts to dethrone two-time Wii Boxing champion Elliott Sadler. Others vying for the Bristol Motor Speedway Wii Boxing championship include Clint Bowyer, Marcos Ambrose, Bobby Labonte and David Reutimann. Wii Boxing gets under way at approximately 6:30. A second question and answer session begins at 6:30 p.m. with Jeff Burton, Brian Vickers, David Ragan, A.J. Allmendinger and Matt Kenseth. New this year to Food City Race Night is the BMS version of the Newlywed Game, set for approximately 7:30. Instead of husbands and wives playing the game, however, this game features drivers and crew chiefs. Among those competing is Kasey Kahne and Kenny Francis, Brad Keselowski and Paul Wolfe and Trevor Bayne and Donnie Wingo. Food City Race Night opens at 4 p.m. Various drivers sign autographs and show cars are on display, along with simulators and souvenir trailers. Live entertainment is featured, along with free food sampling.(BMS)(3-6-2011)

  • Kentucky infield fan zone passes on sale: Kentucky Speedway is celebrating the opening of the 2011 race season by placing infield Fan Zone passes on sale for its July 7-9 NASCAR race weekend that will feature the historic Sprint Cup Series debut at the 105,000-capacity facility along with Camping World Truck and Nationwide Series action.
    A Fan Zone Pass will provide fans access to an infield area surrounding Victory Lane and will include an enhanced view of Pit Road until one hour prior to the start of each weekend event. Individual Fan Zone passes are required for each race day and pass holders must possess a race ticket to be admitted to the speedway on race days. Fan Zone passes are priced at $50 for the 225-mile July 7 Camping World Truck Series race day, $75 for the 300-mile July 8 Nationwide Series race day and $100 for the July 9 Sprint Cup Series race day.
    The speedway is additionally offering a new Prerace Fan Zone Pass priced at $150 only for its July 9 Sprint Cup Series race day. The Prerace Fan Zone pass will deliver all the amenities of a Fan Zone pass with additional access to an area surrounding a prerace stage where fans will enjoy a one-of-a-kind view of Sprint Cup Series driver introductions and a performance by a prerace concert artist that will be announced in the coming weeks. Prerace Fan Zone pass holders must possess a race ticket to be admitted to the speedway on race day. Children enjoying Fan Zone and Prerace Fan Zone access must possess a race ticket and be accompanied by a paying adult. July Fan Zone passes and race tickets for all 2011 Kentucky Speedway events can be reserved online at www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-7223.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-6-2011)


    News from March 5, 2011

  • Happy Hour: for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, the top five, slowest and notes
    #17-Kenseth 184.112
    #18-Busch 183.717
    #39-Newman 183.680
    #99-Edwards 183.630
    #16-Biffle 183.511
    slowest: #66-McDowell 176.603 & #38-Kvapil 176.517
    notes: #09-Elliott spun late but did not hit anything.
    See all practice speeds on the Las Vegas Practice Speeds page.(3-5-2011)

  • Robby Gordon, Conway have altercation in garage: #7-Robby Gordon has been placed on immediate probation for an unspecified period after a post-qualifying incident in the Sprint Cup Series garage Friday evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR wouldn't specifically say what Gordon did, but described its probation move as an "emergency action." "His actions were brought to our attention early last evening," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. "We met this morning and reviewed the situation, and have reacted accordingly. We will continue to look at this situation involving Robby Gordon." NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton described the incident as a "heated discussion" but wouldn't confirm it was a physical confrontation because he didn't personally witness it, nor did any NASCAR officials. "You'll have to find somebody that actually saw it," Pemberton said. The incident was brought to NASCAR's attention by Conway, Pemberton said. Conway will not be penalized. Gordon and Conway didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The two have had recent battles in the legal system over money.(SB Nation)(3-5-2011)
    UPDATE: Neither Gordon nor Conway would talk about the incident, but Conway said he had filed a police report about the incident – giving the indication that it was physical – and said all comment would come from the police or NASCAR. Gordon said he couldn’t comment because of the legal issues that already had existed between the two. Conway drove for Gordon in six races last year and they are involved in lawsuits with each other – Gordon has sued Conway sponsor Extenze in California while Conway has sued Gordon in North Carolina. Gordon said Saturday that Conway is asking for $27,000 in money from winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie award from last year. Gordon said Saturday that he would pay Conway once he gets the $690,000 from Extenze.(Scene Daily)(3-5-2011)

  • Edwards, Busch talk about Phoenix accident: #99-Carl Edwards said Friday he's over his anger toward #18-Kyle Busch for the accident that wrecked Edwards' car at Phoenix. Edwards started from the pole last week and believed he had a car capable of winning the race until early contact from Busch wrecked his Ford. Edwards fell to a 28th-place finish, while Busch went on to finish second. The two talked about the incident in Las Vegas, Edwards said. "I give him a lot of credit for coming over and talking to me and I think we will be fine," Edwards said, adding that Busch claimed he tried several times to call Edwards during the week, but had an old number. Busch has apologized repeatedly for causing the accident.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(3-5-2011)

  • Employee sues Earnhardt Ganassi over testing tunnel: Jesus Hernandez, a former NASCAR diversity driver, is suing Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, claiming in his lawsuit that he was fired from his job as a test team mechanic after questioning whether a EGR testing tunnel had proper ventilation. Hernandez filed the lawsuit after his claim was rejected by the North Carolina Department of Labor, which cited that there was not enough evidence for it to prosecute a violation under the law. Hernandez went to the tunnel three times in 2009, his suit says. He claims in court documents that he suffered symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning.(Scene Daily)(3-5-2011)

  • Marcos Ambrose starts UARA team: #9-Marcos Ambrose knows very well that the path to the top of NASCAR is tough, and now he is using his years of experience to assist young up and coming Australian drivers through the North American stock car ranks. Based in the motorsport hub of North Carolina, Marcos Ambrose Motorsport has been set up to field Late Model stock cars in the UARA Stars Touring Series, with the team set to field 24 year old Australian George Miedecke in the Jeld-Wen Australia sponsored #9 racer. The program has been developed to equip drivers with the best possible race machinery, give exclusive access to Ambrose's advice, guidance and industry connections, as well as to his marketing and public relations team.(Marcos Ambrose Motorsport)(3-5-2011)

  • Ford Wins NASCAR "Driving Business Award": Ford Motor Company was honored with the 2010 NASCAR Driving Business Award Friday at the first NASCAR Fuel for Business Council Meeting in Las Vegas, Nev. Ford Motor Company, which has been racing in NASCAR since 1949, has been a proud member of the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council since 2007. The NASCAR Fuel for Business Council is a proprietary platform exclusive to NASCAR's Official Partners that fosters business-to-business (B2B) development, maximizes resource efficiencies and strengthens the community between NASCAR's top Partners. Since becoming part of the NASCAR B2B Council, Ford has sold 20,000 vehicles to NASCAR official partners.(PCGCampbell/Ford Racing)(3-5-2011)

  • NASCAR partners with Ten80 Education on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education: NASCAR and Ten80 Education's Student Racing Challenge announced a partnership focusing on attracting youth into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Increased national focus on student scores in math/science testing prompted NASCAR to seek a high-performance educational initiative. The program had to be research-based, compelling for youth participation and reach a widely underserved audience, making the Ten80 Student Racing Challenge the right fit for NASCAR. The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge uses a NASCAR-themed curriculum for students in grades 6-12, paralleling student activity to the arduous preparation of real NASCAR teams. Students will be challenged to optimize performance of a 1:10 scale race car just like the NASCAR professionals in track garages all across the country. Mini-race teams composed of students will earn points between October and May and points leaders will then compete in the National Finals held at a NASCAR track each May. Teams can earn points in various categories including sanctioned races, aerodynamic design, creative engineering and alternative energies and sustainable design. Marketing and graphic design are rewarded as teams seek sponsorship and media presence.The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge will use the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. as a key resource for its curriculum.(NASCAR)(3-5-2011)

  • Wagner Companies joins TRG at Las Vegas: The Wagner Companies will serve as an associate sponsor with Andy Lally on-board the #71 Eco Fuel Saver Chevrolet in Las Vegas. The Wagner Companies, which produce a wide variety of metal products, assisted in developing the safety cage for NASCAR's COT and also manufactures the "Festivus Pole" made popular by the television sitcom "Seinfeld."(TRG)(3-5-2011)

  • Byrd family named grand marshals of Jeff Byrd 500: Food City officials recently stunned the NASCAR community with their decision to forgo traditional entitlement rights, opting rather to name the March 20 Sprint Cup event the Jeff Byrd 500 Presented by Food City, in honor of the dynamic President and General Manager of Bristol Motor Speedway who passed away last October. Friday company officials announced that Byrd's wife of 36 years, Claudia, along with son Christian and daughter Belton Caldwell will serve as the event Grand Marshals.(BMS)(3-5-2011)

  • Tickets available March 9 for Labor Day weekend at Atlanta: Tickets for Atlanta Motor Speedway's Labor Day NASCAR night racing weekend will go on sale on Wednesday, March 9 and the on-sale date will coincide with an announcement regarding the Speedway's pre-race concert for the Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 4. Tickets will start at just $39 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race, the pinnacle of the biggest Labor Day party in the USA at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2-4. Frontstretch seats for the Sprint Cup Series race start at just $59 and student tickets in the Turn 3 Elliott Grandstand cost just $19. Fans can attend the entire three-day race weekend for just $78 by purchasing a $39 ticket to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and a $39 Weekend Upgrade ticket that includes general admission seating for the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series night race on Saturday, Sept. 3 and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series night race on Friday, Sept. 2.(AMS)(3-5-2011)

  • Michigan hosting Q&A with Bayne: NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne is still enjoying his success as the Daytona 500 champion, making his way across the country to various cities to celebrate his historic win with fans. Next stop for the Bayne Event - Michigan, home of Michigan International Speedway and Ford Motor Co. Michigan International Speedway will host a free fan event on Wednesday, March 9 at the Henry Ford Museum's Anderson Theatre with 2011 Daytona 500 winner Bayne, car owners Eddie and Len Wood, MIS President Roger Curtis and Jamie Allison, Director of Ford North America Motorsports. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. (doors open at 3 p.m.) on March 9 and is free to the public. Fans will have the opportunity to submit questions for Bayne in advance by filling out a card at Anderson Theatre.(MIS)(3-5-2011)


    News from March 4, 2011

  • Qualifying Order: for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vehas Motor Speedway is posted, qualifying order was set by the drivers fastest practice speed in either session [if more then one was held], with the top-35 in owners points going first, with slowest in practice going first and the fastest in practice going last, Then the non-top 35 in owners points go out, slowest in practice first and fastest go out last.
    44 cars/drivers are listed.
    The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #37-Raines.
    The final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #17-Kenseth.
    The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #92-Keselowski with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #13-Mears. See the full qualifying order on the Las Vegas Qualifying Page.(3-4-2011)

  • Friday Practice: for the Kobalt Tools 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, the top five, slowest and notes
    #17-Kenseth 186.599
    #6-Ragan 186.297
    #42-Montoya 185.957
    #99-Edwards 185.893
    #16-Biffle 185.675
    slowest: #37-Raines 176.794 & #92-Keselowski 176.390
    notes: #24-Gordon spun coming off turn four on his second lap out, but did not hit anything. #38-Kvapil made slight contact with the wall but didn't do any damage.
    See all practice speeds on the Las Vegas Practice Speeds page. (3-4-2011)

  • Practice rank for the non top-35 drivers:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #13-Casey Mears, 30th
    #32-Mike Skinner, 33rd
    #46-J.J. Yeley, 34th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 35th
    #36-Dave Blaney, 36th
    #60-Landon Cassill, 38th
    #09-Bill Elliott [PC], 39th
    #66-Michael McDowell, 40th
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #92-Brian Keselowski, 44th
    [PC] = [past champion and order, 1 is more recent champ]

  • New look for Robby Gordon at Vegas: The #7 SPEED Energy Dodge will be sporting a new color and partner this weekend. The #7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger R/T will be yellow to represent the Octane flavor of SPEED Energy and will be sporting two new partners, Terrible Herbst and Wirtz Beverage Nevada. SPEED Energy drinks can be purchased in the Terrible Herbst convenience stores in Nevada.(RGM)(3-4-2011)

  • Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers joins Furniture Row Racing's Farm American Program: Furniture Row Racing announced that Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers has joined the team as a financial partner for its Farm American program. Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers manufactures and markets in-house formulated and branded liquid fertilizer products. Incorporated in 1983, the well-known St. Johns, Mich.-based agricultural company has worked years ahead of the industry response to the demand for environmentally friendly products. The company owns the largest fertilizer research farm in the United States dedicated to plant nutrition. The Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row Racing team spearheaded the Farm American program in 2010 with a special paint scheme at selected races on its #78 Chevy, driven by Regan Smith.(DMF Communications)(3-4-2011)

  • Tmone returns to Front Row: TMone returns to Front Row Motosports this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400. TMone, who first joined the team last weekend at Phoenix, will again be an associate sponsor on the #34 Taco Bell/TMone Ford of David Gilliland and also join the #38 Long John Silver's Ford of Travis Kvapil. TMone will be a co-primary for Front Row Motorsports at Bristol.(Breaking Limits), see an image on the #34 team paint schemes page.(2-4-2011)

  • NASCAR honoring Wendell Scott at Vegas: In honor of the 50th anniversary of African-American racing pioneer Wendell Scott's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, all Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup cars competing this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will display a commemorative decal bearing Scott's image. Scott made his first start in NASCAR's premier series 50 years ago - March 4, 1961 - in Spartanburg, S.C. On Dec. 1, 1963 in Jacksonville, Fla., Scott became the first African-American to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Drive for Diversity drivers Michael Cherry, who last season became the first African-American to win at Tri-County Speedway, and Ryan Gifford, who in 2010 became the first African-American driver in NASCAR K&N Pro Series history to win a pole, will join Scott's daughter Deborah Scott at LVMS to further recognize this special occasion.(NASCAR)(3-4-2011)



  • Some numbers for the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas:
    0 - number of Sprint Cup races won from a starting spot outside the top 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
    0 - number of times Sprint Cup qualifying has been cancelled at LVMS
    1 - number of wins from the pole in the previous 13 races (2009 - Kyle Busch)
    2 - fewest number of cautions for a race (twice, most recently 2000)
    6 - number of jet dryers available for track drying at LVMS this weekend
    7 - number of cautions for last year's race (seven for 29 laps)
    13 - fewest lead changes in the previous 13 races (2000) *14*- most cautions for a race at the 1.5-mile track (2009)
    18 - number of lead changes in last year's race
    24 - number of cautions in first two Sprint Cup races of 2011; 15 after two races in 2010
    28 - most lead changes in previous 13 races (2007)
    30 - most cars on the lead lap at finish (2006); fewest cars on the lead lap (10 twice - most recently, 1999)
    42 - most cars running at the finish (2000)
    66 - most caution laps for a Sprint Cup race at LVMS (2009); fewest caution laps (nine - 1998) *120*- minutes, the amount of time it takes to dry the 1.5-mile track after a significant rainfall Provided by Dodge Motorsports
    (Darnell Communications/Dodge)(3-4-2011)

  • Nemechek gets associate sponsor for Las Vegas: NEMCO Motorsports announced a new associate sponsor for its NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series entries this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sin City Motorsports will be on Joe Nemechek’s #87 Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series Toyota Camry’s for the Sam’s Town 300 on Saturday and the Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday. (NEMCO PR)(3-4-2011)

  • McMurray, Scott Dixon to swap rides: NASCAR, ARCA, INDYCAR and GRAND-AM all make stops in Alabama during April, with only one week and 30 miles separating the events. Earnhardt-Ganassi drivers McMurray and Dixon will get a chance to experience what each race offers when they take turns driving each other's cars at their respective venues - McMurray will drive Dixon's #9 Target Honda Indy car at Barber Motorsports Park and Dixon will drive McMurray's # 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy at Talladega Superspeedway. The event takes place starting at noon on March 16, but is not open to the public.(Talladega PR)(3-4-2011)

  • Kentucky Speedway to make sponsor announcement: Kentucky Speedway officials will make a sponsorship announcement prior to Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I think you'll find it to be a pretty significant sponsorship announcement," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger said. While he did not elaborate, officials with the track and the company that owns it have been working to land a title sponsor for the inaugural Sprint Cup Series race in July. The 400-mile race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on July 9.(Cincinnati Enquirer)(3-4-2011)

  • March 13-20 designated Jeff Byrd Week in Tennessee: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey spoke from the well of the Tennessee state Senate Thursday following the reading of a resolution honoring his late friend, Jeff Byrd, the longtime president and general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, with a week in his honor. "Anybody who knew Jeff Byrd will never forget him," said Ramsey. "I have never seen anyone become a member of a community as quickly as Jeff Byrd did in Bristol. If Jeff Byrd had a fault, it was that he couldn't say no," Ramsey added. "He was always looking to help others and challenging those around him to do the same." The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 89, designates March 13-20 as Jeff Byrd Week in Tennessee. Rep. Jon Lundberg also spoke from the well in honor of Mr. Byrd. Ramsey and Lundberg were joined in the well by Byrd's wife Claudia, his sister JoJo Davis and daughter Belton Caldwell. The resolution, once passed, will be framed and presented to the family prior to the annual spring race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Longtime sponsor Food City has renamed the March 20 race the Jeff Byrd 500.(BMS)(3-4-2011)

  • Richmond launces fan advisory board: Richmond International Raceway is taking its fan-friendly approach a step further by launching a Fan Advisory Board. The group of fans will represent the entire body of fans to assist the track in continuing to improve the overall fan experience, and ultimately, “Racing Perfection.”
    “Many of the fan amenities and enhancements over the past decade are direct results of feedback received by the greatest fans in all of motorsports,” said track president Doug Fritz. “The Video Scoring Tower, continuous tram route, larger coolers and widened seats are just a few of the enhancements that have been made at America’s Premier Short Track in the last year. It is our hope that the Fan Advisory Board will give us even closer contact with a core group of fans who represent the entire body.” Fans interested in joining the Fan Advisory Board may apply by explaining, in 100 words or less, why they would be a good representative of the fans. The application is available online at www.rir.com/FanAdvisoryBoard. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 11.
    Richmond International Raceway’s Fan Advisory Board is an extension of its Richmond International Raceway RESPECT initiative launched last season. The creed encourages all of its fans to be respectful of everyone, be a good neighbor, be responsible, be attentive, take pride and have fun. The full Richmond International Raceway RESPECT awareness initiative can be found at rir.com.
    Track officials will compile a diverse collection of fans who will serve as a focus group for the overall population of fans at Richmond International Raceway. Fan Advisory Board members may participate in meetings and conference calls to share their thoughts and discuss concerns with track officials. NASCAR returns to Richmond International Raceway for a NASCAR Tripleheader April 28-30, highlighted by the Saturday, April 30 Crown Royal Presents The Your Name Here 400 Sprint Cup Series race. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased online at www.rir.com or by calling 866-455-RACE (7223).(RIR)(3-4-2011)


    News from March 3, 2011

  • Jeff Gordon stopped by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: some quotables from his appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Wednesday night;
    Leno: "What was up with that burnout?"
    Gordon: "I was a little rusty. It's been a little while since I've done a burnout. I was in the sport so long, when I used to win we didn't do burnouts! I've got to keep up with the kids."
    He talks about the fight with fellow racer Jeff Burton:
    Gordon: "I'm passionate about what I do out there and we weren't having a great day anyway, neither Jeff or myself and that doesn't help things," when Leno asked Gordon if he's forgiven Burton , Gordon continued, "Forgiven, never forget, right? I like Jeff. We get along good, but that was uncalled for and I certainly won't forget that. But we're fine. We're going to go race hard. It's all good."
    About being new to Twitter and an unexpected good luck charm:
    "This whole social media thing is new to me, but I have to say I'm having a blast with it. Getting to see the comments and reactions. It's funny, because on Sunday, the day of the race, I happened to check my Twitter page and a woman tweeted that she had the hiccups. I won the race. The last four times she had the hiccups I won those four races!" He continued, "I just hope she has the hiccups every weekend. I've got to figure out how to make her have the hiccups every weekend."
    See clips of the interview at nbc.com(NBC)(3-3-2011)

  • Hamlin's knee still recovering:Denny Hamlin recovering from ACL Denny Hamlin expects his left knee to be "aching for a while" since he never wants to slow down. "It still hasn't quit [aching]," Hamlin said Wednesday. "My problem is I never let myself heal all the way and, of course, I continue to push the limits as far as I can." Hamlin had surgery 11 months ago to repair the torn ACL in his knee, which he injured playing basketball before the 2010 season. Yet, it's still bothering him. That was evident during media day at Texas Motor Speedway, where he won both NASCAR Sprint Cup races last year. Hamlin rubbed the knee at times after moving between interviews in the large ballroom and getting up and down several times. "I was back playing a little bit of pickup basketball probably six, seven months after the surgery, when you really shouldn't even step on the court until a year after," Hamlin said. "I do everything I can to be competitive and try to rush the recovery process, and so I'm sure it's going to be aching for a while, at least until I give it a good few months rest."(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(3-3-2011)

  • Post race inspection rules change a tad: in 2011, NASCAR will have two random teams selected for post-race inspection, John Darby, Cup series director explained. Last year, NASCAR took the first car out as a random for post-race inspection. That's why you saw cars go to the garage early and go back out at different times in the race to not be the first car out. Darby said that NASCAR is changing how that random will be selected. "There will still be a random inspection from the cars outside the top 35 (in car owner points), but we're going to make it more random,'' Darby said. "We're going to do it very similar to the way we do the (random) for the big group of the cars at the end of the race, drawing a number kind of situation so nobody really knows who that random will be.'' What will happen is that the crew chief of the first car out of the race will be asked by NASCAR to select two numbers. One will represent a car not in the top 35 in car owner points to be selected for post-race inspection. Another number will represent a car in the top 35 in car owner points for post-race inspection (Virginian Pilot)(3-3-2011)

  • Valvoline renews oil partnership with Roush Fenway: Roush Fenway Racing and Valvoline, two organizations with long histories of excellence in automotive performance, announced an extension of their NASCAR partnership. Valvoline, the leading innovator and supplier of quality, high-performing automotive products, will continue to be the exclusive motor oil provider for Roush Fenway Racing and all of its NASCAR entries. Valvoline and Roush Fenway Racing are used to finding victory lane in NASCAR competition. In 14 seasons as the team's official motor oil, Valvoline has played an integral role in 46 Roush Fenway Sprint Cup Series victories. In 2011, the relationship continues into its 15th season.(Roush Fenway)(3-3-2011)

  • Charlotte Media Market welcomes NASCAR Broadcast by PRN: The Performance Racing Network (PRN) has added WRFX 99.7 FM "The Fox," Charlotte, N.C.'s "Best Classic Rock" station, as the new flagship station in the heart of NASCAR country to its lineup of affiliate partners. Starting with Sunday's broadcast of the Kobalt Tools 400 from Las Vegas at 3:00pm/et, WRFX 99.7 FM will carry PRN's live broadcast of 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point races this season, including Speedway Motorsports Incorporated races originating from Atlanta, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Texas, Infineon Raceway and Bristol. The broadcast schedule will also include the historic Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend from Charlotte Motor Speedway as well as the Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis.PRN will also receive promotional support for its broadcasts from other Clear Channel Communications stations, including Charlotte-based country music station WKKT 96.9 FM "The Kat." WKKT morning show host Paul Schadt also co-hosts "zMAX Racing Country," a weekly two-hour variety show featuring insights and interviews from behind the scenes of NASCAR and Nashville, syndicated on 300 affiliates nationwide through the Performance Racing Network.
    Performance Racing Network (PRN) is a subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.. PRN produces and distributes programming 365 days a year for more than 750 radio affiliates throughout the United States. Millions of listeners count on PRN for live race coverage and nationally syndicated shows including "Garage Pass," "Fast Talk," and "The Pit Reporters." For more information, visit www.goprn.com.(3-3-2011)

  • Front Row honoring Wendell Scott: This weekend the #34 Ford will carry a decal honoring a driver who sported the same number several decades ago. NASCAR will honor trailblazer Wendell Scott - the first African-American to win a Sprint Cup race - this weekend at Las Vegas on the 50th anniversary of his first career start.(Breaking Limits)(3-3-2011)

  • Matt Goss, Phantom’s Hertzenberg, USAF Thunderbirds at LVMS: He sings of “Lovely Las Vegas” in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR commercials and Sunday morning he’ll serenade the assembled multitude prior to the start of Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Kobalt Tools 400. British-born Matt Goss headlines every Friday and Saturday night in the Gossy Room inside Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino. The London Daily Mail refers to him as “Las Vegas’ new Frank Sinatra,” but U.K. fans know him as one-third of the late-‘80s pop group Bros. “I’m thrilled to be apart of the NASCAR pre-race show and to perform my song ‘Lovely Las Vegas’ to the crowd of 145,000 fans,” said Goss, who met Sinatra when he was 21. “They’ve all come to know the song as part of NASCAR’s promotional campaign this spring and it’s a treat to be able to perform it for them alive as well as to the televised audience.”
    Kristen Hertzenberg will sing the national anthem prior to the command to start engines for Sunday’s race. Originally from the Houston area, Kristen originally aspired to opera and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Voice from the University of Texas at Austin. As Hertzenberg sings the closing words of the national anthem, the world-famous U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will perform their patented flyover to bring a crescendo to the pre-race festivities. Tickets for all NASCAR Weekend events are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444.(LVMS)(3-3-2011)

  • Washington state talking about a NASCAR track again: Washington lawmakers are talking again about locating a NASCAR track in the state, but no action is expected until at least next year. The Kitsap Sun reports Sen. Brian Hatfield of Raymond introduced a bill to create a public speedway authority and set up a funding mechanism using money from tourists. It's too late for the bill to be considered in this session, but Hatfield hopes in could pass in 2011. The International Speedway Corp. of Dayton Beach, Fla., says the Northwest remains a long-term opportunity for the sport. Attempts to locate a NASCAR track in Kitsap or Snohomish counties in 2007 failed to gain traction.(Associated Press)(3-3-2011)

  • Aspiring Las Vegas singer John-Philip Bowen to sing NNS national anthem: John-Philip Bowen hopes to begin a new chapter in his singing career on Saturday, March 5 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bowen, a Las Vegas resident and aspiring entertainer, won the recent FOX 5 TV Speedway Superstar competition and will sing the national anthem prior to the start of the Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Bowen, a 30-year-old employee at Open Top Sightseeing Tours, has been singing in national performances for several years but will experience his first NASCAR race at LVMS on March 5. Race sponsor Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall and FOX 5 TV staged an open audition to find a talent to sing the national anthem and chose Bowen out of more than 120 contestants. Tickets for all events are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444.(LVMS)(3-3-2011)

  • Bud Tap Room Package available at Bristol: Some race fans prefer to sit in skyboxes during NASCAR events at Bristol Motor Speedway. Others believe the only place to be is in the grandstands. There also are those who wish they could have the best of both worlds. For that group, the Bud Tap Room package at Bristol Motor Speedway is the perfect compromise. Fans receive a grandstand seat, suite access as part of the Bud Tap Room package and a meet and greet with Budweiser driver and former BMS winner Kevin Harvick. The grandstand seating is located in the Wallace Tower with easy access to the climate-controlled Bud Tap Room suite. Ticket holders for the Bud Tap Room package will receive a $25 food and drink voucher for the weekend food and beverage will be available for purchase. Private restrooms also are available, along with closed-circuit television. The Bud Tap Room package is available for the March race weekend.(BMS)(3-3-2011)


    News from March 2, 2011

  • Skinner in the #32 at Vegas: Coming off two solid races to the start the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, FAS Lane Racing heads into Las Vegas this week standing tall in many respects. With two top-25 finishes to their credit, the Frank Stoddard led team rolls into Las Vegas with a partnership with the iconic Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower. The Las Vegas hotel will be home for the FAS Lane Racing team while being as Associate Sponsor on the #32 Ford driven by veteran driver Mike Skinner in the running of the Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mike Skinner will once again be behind the wheel for FAS Lane Racing in Las Vegas. The veteran NASCAR driver made his debut last week for the team in Phoenix and piloted the #32 Ford to a solid 24th place finish.(Integrity Sports Marketing)(3-2-2011)

  • Hall of Fame inductions moved to January starting in 2012: NASCAR announced that the annual Induction Ceremony for the NASCAR Hall of Fame will move to January. The prestigious annual ceremony, which features presentations about each inductee from prominent members of the NASCAR community, will move from May to January starting in 2012. The exact Induction Ceremony date will be announced at a later time. "After holding the inaugural Induction Ceremony in May of 2010, we quickly decided a move to January would give this event a life of its own and would ensure the inductees garner the appropriate amount of attention from the fans, the media and the local community," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "In addition to this being the right move for the inductees, we also feel like making this a standalone event will greatly benefit NASCAR fans across the country that are itching for news in the early parts of the year." The 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony remains unchanged and will take place on Monday, May 23 at 7 p.m. ET in the Charlotte Convention Center's Crown Ballroom at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte, N.C. The Voting Panel for the third NASCAR Hall of Fame class will see some new faces with the addition of NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, Steve O’Donnell, and Marcus Smith, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc. NMPA President Rea White, Associated Press motorsports reporter Jenna Fryer and Sirius NASCAR Radio host Dave Moody also were added to the panel. As a result of the schedule change, voting for the 2012 class will take place on June 14 inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Fans who purchase a ticket that day can attend this special event.(NASCAR)(3-2-2011)

  • Jeff Gordon and Drive to End Hunger Find Victory at Phoenix: AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins issued this statement following the win at Phoenix International Raceway by Jeff Gordon behind the wheel of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy: "We're thrilled to see the continued support from race fans as we work to raise awareness around the alarming issue of senior hunger. Today's victory by Jeff and the Drive to End Hunger car will help generate the attention we need to solve this crisis. One in seven seniors here in Arizona is battling hunger, but the NASCAR community came together this weekend to help make a real difference. We congratulate Jeff on his commanding win, and we look forward to seeing the fans at our next race in Fontana." Earlier this weekend, AARP Foundation made a $10,000 donation to St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix on behalf of Drive to End Hunger. The food bank can feed seven hungry seniors for every one dollar donated. Race fans and the public can donate to Drive to End Hunger by visiting DriveToEndHunger.org or texting "hunger" to 50555.(AARP)(3-2-2011)

  • Sunday's race at Phoenix most ever watched: Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned a 5.9 TV rating, making it the most watched race in the track’s 23 years as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series venue. The following is a breakdown of PIR television ratings from Sunday, February 27:
    The 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 earned a 5.9 fast national rating on FOX, up +5% over the 5.6 final rating for the 2010 California event, the 2nd race on FOX in 2010. An average of 6.9 million households (+6%) and 10.4 million viewers (+13%) tuned in to the Phoenix event on FOX. As an additional comparison, the 2011 Subway Fresh Fit 500 5.9 fast national rating is up +59 percent over the 3.7 final rating for the 2010 Phoenix event, the 7th race of the 2010 season, also on FOX. The 2010 Phoenix race ran on a Saturday night.(PIR), see overnight ratings, past races and 4 year comparison chart on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-2-2011)

  • Raybestos signs on with Roush Fenway Racing: Roush Fenway Racing announced a multi-year marketing partnership with Raybestos that will see its four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams run Raybestos brake packages, beginning with short track and road course events in 2011. While Raybestos has provided Roush Fenway with brakes for many of its 291 NASCAR wins and five NASCAR championships, 2011 marks the beginning of a larger technical and marketing partnership. “We had a very successful test with the Raybestos brakes last year, and the feedback from all of our drivers was very positive,” said team owner Jack Roush. “This is the first time as an organization that we've designated a single supplier to meet all of our needs - and I think that speaks volumes about the quality products that Raybestos is producing.” Roush Fenway will run Raybestos Sprint Cup short track and road course brake packages, including Raybestos legendary high-friction racing brake pads. The ultra-lightweight aluminum alloy Raybestos six-piston calipers are the stiffest and lightest calipers available in NASCAR.(RFR)(3-2-2011)

  • Busch to conduct final dragster test: Kurt Busch has scheduled one final test session prior to his attempt to make the 41st NHRA Full Throttle Series Gatornationals on March 11-13 at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. Busch will be back at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park on the Monday and Tuesday (March 8-9) testing prior to heading up to Gainesville. "It'll be our final shakedown before we go and try to get the job done," said Busch of his upcoming testing. Busch will be out to snare one of the 16 qualifying spots in the Pro Stock class at Gainesville. He will have four qualifying passes to make in an effort to break into the field at the Gatornationals, which will take place during the Sprint Cup tour's first off weekend of the 2011 schedule.(Tom Roberts PR)(3-2-2011)

  • Michael Waltrip’s Comedy Garage Ready To Play Las Vegas: It seems like Michael Waltrip reaches a new milestone every week. Doing stand-up comedy at the Mirage Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip this week is just the latest. The only driver to ever win races in four separate decades in one of NASCAR’s top series becomes the first driver to perform consecutive nights of stand-up comedy when he brings Michael Waltrip’s Comedy Garage to one of the world’s premier destinations. The accomplishments don’t stop there. The 47-year-old became a grandfather for the first time last week and his book “In the Blink of an Eye” moved to eighth in its third consecutive week on the New York Times Best Seller list.
    “A funny thing happened to me on the way to retirement,” said Waltrip who also announced that he will join Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. “Instead of life slowing down like I thought it would after I quit racing every week, a lot of fun things are happening.
    “They call me a “GP” now. My daughter Caitlyn gave birth to my first grandson Bryson Michael on Feb. 22. I won my first truck race in Daytona, ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ is doing well, Le Mans is something I never dreamed of and I’ve got a big weekend in Vegas where I have to intentionally be funny. I’m normally funny unintentionally. Now it’s time to do it on purpose.” Top flight comedians Henry Cho and John Reep will join Waltrip in the Comedy Garage that also includes a routine by Waltrip. The show drew more than 4,000 fans at the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor in Ontario, Canada and has made stops in Kansas, Virginia and Tennessee. Waltrip will sign copies of “In the Blink of an Eye” the book 8-9 p.m. at the Mirage Hotel and Casino on Friday and Saturday. More info at the MWR site.(MWR)(3-2-2011)

  • Stewart driving a cab Wednesday in Vegas: "Taxicab Confessions" is back. Not on HBO, but on the Las Vegas Strip, at least for a couple of hours on Wednesday. Tony Stewart will be a taxicab driver for a day. Stewart's ride will be familiar to NASCAR fans and slightly outlandish to those calling Las Vegas home. His taxi will actually be a bona fide #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevy stock car made street legal thanks to some headlights and taillights. With a passenger seat installed as well as a lighted "Taxi" sign on the roof, Stewart will be in business. No horn will be needed. The 358 cubic-inch V-8 that rests under the hood and is controlled by Stewart's right foot will suffice. He'll begin at Lucky Cab where the real pros will show Stewart the ropes before making pick-ups at the MGM Grand. Expect to see Las Vegas icons David Copperfield and Elvis riding shotgun with Stewart, along with some familiar faces, such as Miss Sprint Cup.(TrueSpeed Communications)(3-2-2011)

  • Whitney Motorsports names Vegas sponsors: Espar Heating Systems is new to NASCAR and will again rejoin the #46-Whitney Motorsports team as an associate sponsor for this week's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Espar is a leading manufacturer of heating systems for vehicles worldwide; the company also was on board for the Daytona 500. Another sponsor returning at LVMS is one of the most familiar names in NASCAR: the legendary "Lady in Black," Darlington Raceway.(PR)(3-2-2011)

  • Jeff Gordon helps PIR begin track pavement project: #24-Jeff Gordon, winner of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 27, helped get construction started for PIR's upcoming track pavement project after celebrating his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in 66 races. Gordon made the first cuts into Phoenix International Raceway's surface. Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced details related to the NASCAR facility’s first major track paving project since 1990 earlier this month. Construction will begin in March with the removal of the facility’s current racing surface and the subsequent installation of a new surface to go with a series of changes designed to promote side-by-side racing. While maintaining the integrity of PIR’s oval – including the 1-mile distance – the slight configuration changes will produce a racier track with average speeds that are expected to increase two to three miles per hour. The project is slated to conclude in September.(PIR)(3-2-2011)

  • Displaced Super Bowl fans to enjoy NASCAR Weekend: When the NFL and the country’s largest football stadium dropped the ball on hundreds of disappointed football fans, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the Stratosphere Hotel, Casino & Tower recovered the fumble and scored a touchdown with many of them. Earlier this month, LVMS and the country’s tallest hotel-tower partnered to offer tickets to the March 4-6 NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas to those who were displaced from their seats at this year’s Super Bowl. A total of 34 fans took advantage of the speedway’s offer. The displaced football fans who took advantage of the free ticket offer also were placed in a random drawing to win airfare and three nights of accommodations at the Stratosphere as well. Amanda Saldana of San Antonio, Texas was one of the hapless pigskin fans who sailed through the uprights in Las Vegas. She not only received free NASCAR Weekend tickets, but also won one of the four drawings for airfare and a hotel stay. Other winners responded from as far away as Valencia, Pa., New Berlin, Wis., Charlotte, N.C. and Pittsburgh. Tickets for all events, Neon Garage passes and Lucky 7 parking permits are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444.(LVMS)(3-2-2011)


    News from March 1, 2011

  • Shepherd catches shoplifter: Most NASCAR drivers don't come to mind when you think of Las Vegas crimefighters, but then again, most NASCAR drivers aren't 69-year-old Morgan Shepherd. The veteran of 44 NASCAR seasons was getting out of his rental car in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store Monday evening just minutes away from Las Vegas Motor Speedway just as three men burst from the store's entrance with security forces trailing behind. Thats when Shepherd, a daily jogger and fitness perfectionist, sprang into action. "I just got out and took off after them," Shepherd said. "I caught one of them just as they were getting ready to hop a little wall at the end of the parking lot. I yanked him down and got on top of him." Shepherd said in a matter of seconds a Las Vegas police officer pitched the ageless NASCAR driver a pair and handcuffs and continued pursuit of the other two suspects, along with the store's security force. "I cuffed him and sat on top of him," Shepherd said. "The police department officers showed up and asked if I could hold him a while longer while they ran down the others. I told them he wasn't going anywhere." Shepherd said while the young shoplifter pleaded with him to let him go and about the possibility of going to jail, Shepherd used the time to lecture the youth about his poor choices. (Faith Motorsports)(3-1-2011)

  • TV Ratings up over 2011: NASCAR on Fox earned a 5.3/11 in the metered markets Sunday for the Subway Fresh FIt 500 from Phoenix, easily the highest rating of the weekend for any sports event. 2011 continues to take shape as a comeback year for NASCAR, as the 5.3/11 is +6% better than the 5.0/10 that Fox charted for racing from Fontana on the same weekend a year ago. It's also +56% better than the 3.4/7 that the Phoenix race delivered last year when it aired on a Saturday night in April. Through two weeks, NASCAR on Fox is averaging a 6.8/15 in the overnights, a hefty +13% gain over last year's Olympic-impacted 6.0/12. NASCAR also currently holds a narrow advantage over the 2009 season as well (+1% vs. 6.7/13). See 2011 TV Ratings and comparison charts on the 2011 TV Ratings page.(3-1-2011)

  • TBR teaming with the Stratosphere: Tommy Baldwin Racing will team up with the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower to support charities during the Las Vegas Motor Speedway race week. TBR owner Tommy Baldwin will participate in the Dale Earnhardt Foundation Celebrity Poker Tournament on March 2nd. The team will also partner with the hotel by displaying a logo for the Scale the Strat Stair Climb Event on the # 36 Accell Construction Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series event at LVMS. The Scale the Strat Stair Climb Event held March 12-13th at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower will have associate placement on the #36 Accell Construction Chevy. The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower will team up with the American Lung Association in Nevada and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for the event where 400 climbers will participate in a vertical road race up 1,455 steps inside the 108-floor Stratosphere Tower. The proceeds for the third annual extreme athletic event will go to prevent lung disease and promote lung health in Southern Nevada.(TBR)(3-1-2011)

  • Gilliland headed to the desert: After an emotional and action-filled month of February, David Gilliland is ready to unplug from the NASCAR world and go play in the sand. The driver of the #34 Taco Bell/TMone Ford for Front Row Motorsports will head to the sand dunes of Glamis, Calif., for a few days of relaxation and recreation before rejoining the Sprint Cup Series in Las Vegas, Nev., later this week. Gilliland is among a handful of NASCAR drivers who will escape this week for some downtime - and playtime - to the remote Southern California desert community of Glamis, where visitors ride four-wheelers and sand cars during the day and camp out at night. The native of nearby Riverside, Calif., spent more than 30 days in the dunes during the winter months of NASCAR's off-season. Gilliland will trade his Taco Bell/TMone Ford Fusion for his Yamaha YFZ450 all-terrain vehicle and Elite 4-Seat Off-Road Car for the next few days.(Breaking Limits)(3-1-2011)

  • NASCAR Hauler Parade to kick off NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas: The popular NASCAR Hauler Parade once again will thunder up the world-famous Las Vegas Strip to kick off NASCAR Weekend in Las Vegas. The 2011 edition of the NASCAR Hauler Parade will begin at 6 p.m. – under the fabulous neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip – on Thursday, March 3. The evening starting time will allow more fans to view and enjoy the parade.
    The colorful 18-wheelers that carry the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series race cars and equipment to the tracks will be staged at approximately 6 p.m. at the South Point Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Blvd. Once all trucks are lined up, the haulers will move north on Las Vegas Boulevard. The haulers will proceed approximately five miles to Sahara Avenue before entering Interstate 15 to complete the journey to the speedway.
    The speedway expects 60-75 haulers to take part in the parade, which will conclude with the haulers arriving at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in preparation for the March 6 Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Race fans will be able to watch the hauler parade from both sides of the Strip and from any of the properties along Las Vegas Boulevard. Tickets for all events are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444.(LVMS)(3-1-2011)

  • LVMS expects smooth traffic flow for NASCAR Weekend: Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials are expecting another year of smooth vehicle flow for the upcoming NASCAR Weekend thanks to improvements made last year to Interstate 15. While commuting by car should be trouble-free, the speedway still encourages fans to use mass transit to attend the races. For the third consecutive year, Coach America will service the event. In 2009, Coach America replaced CAT as the preferred transit organization for the events at LVMS. Race fans may contact Coach America at www.nascar.coachamerica.com or (702) 948-7360. For those wishing to take a private charter to the races, LVMS recommends Key Tours. Key Tours has been providing service to the speedway for several years, and we vouch for the quality of its service. Key Tours can be contacted at www.keytourslv.com or (800) 261-2691. To reserve seats on either the Coach America or Key Tours buses, please go to www.LVMS.com and click on the “Getting to the Races” link in the NASCAR Weekend Quick Links box. The speedway will continue to crack down on the fraudulent use of handicapped placards. Speedway security will be checking the validity of handicapped passes on each vehicle.
    General parking is free at LVMS. The speedway also has a video feature to assist drivers. Videos depicting the preferred entry and exit from the speedway may now be found online. The speedway’s new phone application for iPhones and Android phones is a new tool to assist race fans as they enter and exit the speedway. Tickets for all events, Neon Garage passes and Lucky 7 parking permits are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444.(LVMS)(3-1-2011)


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