- Bayne doubtful for Darlington Nationwide race: UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing driver Trevor Bayne remains hospitalized in the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and likely will remain out of the driver’s seat for at least another week. Hospitalized last week for fatigue, nausea and blurred vision, Bayne missed the Nationwide Series race at Richmond last week. He likely will miss this weekend’s race at Darlington although a final decision might not be made until Thursday, a Roush Fenway Racing spokesman said Wednesday. His replacement would be Chris Buescher.(Scene Daily)(5-4-2011)
UPDATE: Chris Buescher likely will replace Trevor Bayne in the Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series car for the second straight race as the Daytona 500 winner remains hospitalized for an undisclosed illness, sources told ESPN.com Wednesday. Despite numerous rumors about Bayne’s condition – which at times has included a rash as well as swelling and numbness in his left arm – several sources said doctors have not made a final diagnosis and would not speculate on whether this could be career-threatening. A final decision on whether to put Buescher in the car is expected to be made Thursday. Bayne’s next scheduled Cup race for the Wood Brothers is the May 21 All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(ESPN.com)(5-4-2011)
UPDATE 2: Roush Fenway Racing’s Trevor Bayne has been released from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. after being admitted last week for testing and evaluation. The 20-year old Daytona 500 winner will continue to be monitored closely by the Mayo Clinic team. He is expected to return to his NASCAR racing duties with both Roush Fenway Racing in the Nationwide Series and the Wood Brothers in the Sprint Cup Series this season. He will not, however, be in the #16 Roush Fenway Nationwide Series entry this weekend at Darlington Raceway. No timeframe has been set for Bayne’s return at this point.
"Trevor Bayne was seen by a team of Mayo Clinic specialists where he underwent a series of tests and consultations over the last week," said Mayo Clinic neurologist Brian Crum, M.D. "He was admitted after suffering from nausea, fatigue and vision impairment. Since his admission, the nausea and fatigue have abated, and the vision impairment continues to be treated with medication, and is showing significant improvement.
"This symptom appears to be the result of an inflammatory condition. Further assessments will be made over the next couple of weeks. His condition is not life threatening or career-ending. We expect he will continue to improve, though the timeframe for his return to racing is unknown at this point. He will continue to be followed closely by his Mayo Clinic team."
Chris Buescher, who drove the #16 Roush Fenway NNS entry last week at Richmond, will again fill in for Bayne this weekend at Darlington. Team officials are unsure of Bayne’s status for next week’s Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway but are hopeful for his return for that race.(Roush Fenway Racing)(5-5-2011)
- Different look for Hamlin at Darlington: Sport Clips will serve as the primary sponsor for Denny Hamlin and the #11 Joe Giobbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Sport Clips is headquartered in Georgetown, Texas and has more than 750 Sport Clips locations in 38 states. Hamlin on Racing at Darlington: "It’s exciting to have Sport Clips on board for the Cup race this weekend. We were able to get them to victory lane last week in the Nationwide Race in Richmond and hopefully we can match that success over on the Cup side this weekend. I know they are big race fans so it would be a thrill to give them that opportunity."(JGR)(5-5-2011)
- Drivers complete Brickyard tire test: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #22-Kurt Busch, #16-Greg Biffle, #27-Paul Menard and #56-Martin Truex Jr. got a head start on preparations for the 2011 Brickyard 400 by participating in a Goodyear tire test May 3-4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Menard said drivers and teams still gained plenty of important data and experience despite a high temperature of only 60, at least 20 degrees cooler than the probable Race Day temperature in July. "It was good," Menard said. "Goodyear is trying a bunch of different things, and we hit on a couple things that will hopefully make a great race even better come July. It’s a nice, cool day, and we’ll come back in July and it’ll be really hot, so times will be a lot slower. You have to take that into account in what you do as a driver and kind of set up trends that we learn today and tomorrow that we’ll apply for July, for sure."(IMS PR)(5-5-2011)
- NASCAR meets with manufacturers: NASCAR held a "town hall" style meeting with its manufacturers – Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Toyota – in Detroit on Tuesday. The five-hour summit, which was described by both sides as "very productive" with "an open exchange," is expected to be the first of many where marketing and competition ideas are shared between the sanctioning body and its automotive partners. NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton offered a brief update on the 2013 Sprint Cup car models and the decision behind restructuring points. In addition, computer-aided design photos of one of the 2013 cars were compared to the 2012 street car for the same manufacturer, highlighting an effort to return to the showroom influence. But the focus was geared more toward the current state of the sport and building NASCAR through its new integrated marketing and communications department.(Fox Sports)(5-5-2011)
- Hendrick plane crash lawsuits settled: Hendrick Motorsports and the widows of two former Hendrick employees have settled claims with the U.S. government over the October 2004 plane crash that killed 10 people, including four members of team owner Rick Hendrick’s family. Lawsuits stemming from the accident were pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals, but recent filings indicate all parties have reached undisclosed settlements to end the litigation. The settlements involved cases in which Linda Turner (widow of HMS general manager Jeff Turner) and Dianne Dorton (widow of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton) had sought money from the government, as did Hendrick Motorsports for the government to contribute to the settlements with the families of victims Scott Lathram (NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s pilot who was a passenger on the plane) and DuPont executive Joe Jackson.(Scene Daily)(5-5-2011)
- JTG Daugherty running special decals at Darlington: JTG Daugherty Racing is carrying the Snyder’s-Lance Inc. brand Tom’s on the hood of Bobby Labonte’s #47 Toyota with a special patriotic scheme along with a couple special decals at Darlington Raceway. With the recent partnership of Snyder’s-Lance Inc. and the Armed Forces Foundation, the racing organization has positioned the foundation’s logo on the quarter panels to show support to their mission of promoting the morale, welfare and quality of life of those within the United States armed forces community, including members of the military and their families. The campaign will run throughout the summer months encouraging consumers to support the Foundation via an in-store and Facebook donation drive along with a matching gift of $25,000 from Snyder’s-Lance Inc. In addition to having presence from the Armed Forces Foundation, JTG Daugherty Racing is placing an American Red Cross decal on the C-post highlighting states affected by deadly spring storms.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(5-5-2011)
- The Numbers for the Showtime Southern 500:
0 – fewest cautions for a Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway (9/2/63)
1 – fewest cars on lead lap at finish (24 times, most recent 9/3/79)
1 – fewest laps led by race winner Ricky Craven, 3/16/03)
2 – fewest leaders (5/9/64)
4 – fewest lead changes (9/4/50)
6 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend
10 – most wins by driver (David Pearson)
12 – fewest cars running at finish (9/2/74)
17 – most cautions (5/9/09)
17 – most leaders (9/6/82)
19 – wins from the pole; 35 from the front row (107 races)
23 – most cars on lead lap at finish (9/1/02)
41 – most lead changes (9/6/82)
41 – most running at finish (twice, most recent 5/10/08)
44 – different race winners
47 – different pole winners
82 – number of cars that started the 1951 race on what was then a 1.25-mile track
101 – most caution laps (9/2/74)
120 minutes – approximate amount of time it takes to dry the 1.366-mile track after a significant rainfall
Key Darlington Dates
1949 – Harold Brasington, a retired racer, purchased 70 acres from Sherman Ramsey and started construction of the race track. (The egg-shaped design was necessary because Brasington promised Ramsey the track wouldn’t disturb his minnow point on the west side of the property).
1950 – First race on Labor Day, a 75-car field for the 500-mile event on what was then a 1.250-mile track
1951 – Field of 82 cars started the race
1953 – Track was re-measured to 1.375 miles
1959 – Last convertible race (won by Fireball Roberts)
1965 – Cale Yarborough, of nearby Timmonsville, crashed with his car sailing over the guard rail and off the track. He was unhurt and the mishap was used as an introduction to ABC’s Wide World of Sports for several years.
1970 – Track re-configured to 1.366 miles following the spring race
1982 – International Speedway Corporation (ISC) acquires Darlington Raceway
1995 – Track repaved
1997 – Frontstretch and backstretch switched
2000 – All cars pit on same side for first time
2005 – First Saturday night race at Darlington; track repaved.(Darnell Communications for Dodge Motorsports)(5-5-2011)
- Chassis selections for Darlington: see the list of many teams and what chassis were selected by the team to run at Darlington Raceway this weekend on the Darlington Race Info page – Chassis selection area.(5-5-2011)
- Bring-a-kid program celebrates 25 years at Darlington: Tommy DeWitt didn’t quite know what he was getting himself into 25 years ago when he walked into the office of Red Tyler, then Darlington Raceway President, with a bold idea. DeWitt, who counted the track as a client of his pest control business, had an idea to fill the stands during the track’s NASCAR Nationwide Series events. The idea: offer Nationwide race tickets and Christian fellowship to families through Darlington Raceway Ministries and the Welsh Neck Baptist Association. Tyler’s response was immediate, "Let’s do it." The program began small and grew, quickly. Managed by Tommy and his wife Linda since its inception in 1987, Bring-A-Kid has brought over 150,000 youths to Darlington Raceway for fellowship and racing. Each package includes a Nationwide Series race ticket, hot-dog, soda and a Christian themed program prior to the race. "Bring-A-Kid has grown to levels we could never have imagined back in 1987," said Linda Dewitt. "Tommy and I love being a part of this program and enjoy being a part of the kid’s lives at Darlington Raceway."
"Tommy and Linda have poured so much of their heart and souls into this program at Darlington Raceway," said track President, Chris Browning. "Each year when they call to place their ticket order we are amazed at the number of youth they are bringing to the track." The DeWitts will be honored during the pre-race ceremonies of the upcoming Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway)(5-5-2011)
- Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall on display at Darlington: Veterans and active members of America’s armed services travel great distances and make great sacrifices to preserve and protect freedom and liberty and now race fans can honor these service men and women during the SHOWTIME Southern 500 weekend at Darlington Raceway. The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) Traveling Wall will visit Darlington Raceway on Friday, May 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fans are invited to attend a special wreath laying ceremony at the Wall at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 6. The Traveling Wall is an 80 percent scale version of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. Across its 370-foot length the wall contains every single name etched on the original. At its apex the memorial is an impressive eight-feet tall. The traveling wall was completed in early 1998 and began traveling that year. AVTT’s traveling wall is the largest Wall replica traveling the United States. Race fans are encouraged to visit the display located in the display/vendor area behind the Tyler Tower grandstand. AVTT staff will be onsite and can assist fans in finding names of loved ones honored on the Traveling Wall display.(Darlington PR)(5-5-2011)
- Updated amenities and entertainment options at Darlington: Race fans preparing to make the trip to Darlington Raceway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Royal Purple
200 and Showtime Southern 500 this Mother’s Day weekend will have plenty of updated amenities and entertainment options to look forward too at the track Too Tough To Tame. "Ensuring that our guests have the best possible experience while they are here is our number one priority," said Darlington Raceway, Chris Browning. "Everything we do focuses on that objective and we take pride in providing a unique, southern hospitality, experience."
Fans can look forward to the following items when they converge on Darlington Raceway this Mother’s Day weekend:
· Way-finding Signage – Signage around the facility has
been updated with new 3-D maps making it easier for fans to find their way around the 400-plus acre facility. Additionally, new parking lot marker signs have been added in the Petty Boulevard parking lot making it easier for fans to locate their vehicles.
· Redesigned Event Program – The Darlington Raceway
Official Souvenir Program has been redesigned with value-minded fans in mind! Now only $5, each program features the same great content as previous year’s programs but also has several money saving coupons, including $10 off a purchase at Americrown souvenir stands.
· Larger Cooler Size – Fans will now be permitted to
bring in coolers measuring 14x14x14 (2,700 cubic inches) – six times larger than the size previously permitted. These coolers can typically hold up to 36 cans of Coca-Cola or other beverages.
Coolers must be soft-sided and be free of wheels or telescoping handles but may have removable plastic liners.
· Darlington Car Hauler Parade Presented by Nationwide
Insurance – The Darlington Car Hauler parade returns for its seventh run from the Florence Civic Center, through the Darlington Square, before entering Darlington Raceway. Race Fest gets underway at 4:00 p.m. at the Civic Center and the trucks depart at 7:00 p.m.
· Extended Darlington Raceway Museum and Pit Shop Hours –
The Darlington Raceway Museum and Pit Shop will feature extended hours on race week and is stocked with all of the latest NASCAR gear from your favorite driver. Coupons from the Official Souvenir Program are valid on Pit Shop purchases. Take a stroll down memory lane while you are there with a visit to the Darlington Raceway Museum and National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame. For just $5 you can see some of the most fabled cars in NASCAR’s 60-plus year history.
Darlington Raceway, or the track Too Tough To Tame as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality. A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Gatorade Victory Lane. On Mother’s Day weekend, May 6-7, 2011, NASCAR’s biggest stars return to battle the track Too Tough To Tame in the Sprint Cup Series Showtime Southern 500® and Nationwide Series Royal Purple 200. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway)(5-5-2011)
- Raybestos sponsoring Hamlin at Darlington: After a very successful weekend in Richmond for the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization, its #20 Nationwide team has been busy preparing a new racecar for Denny Hamlin to drive at this Friday’s Royal Purple 200 NASCAR Nationwide race at Darlington Raceway: the first-ever Raybestos/WIX primary sponsored entry. Hamlin took the checkered flag in the Nationwide race this past weekend, and has won the past THREE straight Nationwide events at Darlington. He hopes to continue his winning ways this weekend at Darlington, in a car both equipped with – and sponsored by – long-time JGR team technical partners, Raybestos Brakes and WIX Filters. Both brands represent divisions of parent company Affinia Group, a global leader in automotive aftermarket parts.(JRG), see an image of the car on my #20 team paint schemes page.(5-5-2011)
- JD Motorsports to field 2 cars; Hylton to break record for oldest driver: JD Motorsports has announced the entry of a second car in Darlington. The car will carry the #0 and be piloted by legendary Cup, Nationwide, and current ARCA driver, James Hylton. At 76 years of age, James will break a record Friday night when he takes the green flag as being the oldest driver to ever start a race in the Nationwide Series. The record has hailed since 2008, the 73 year old driver who drove for Johnny Davis was none other than James Hylton. The #0 G&K Services Chevy will sport the familiar orange G&K paint scheme. Mike Wallace will also represent G&K Services in Darlington for the 6th time this season. Mike’s #01 G&K Services Chevy will bare the alternate G&K Services paint scheme that was run for the first time last week in Richmond.(JD Motorsports)(5-5-2011)
- MAXelence returns to the #28 team: MAXelence continues their partnership with Jay Robinson Racing and the #28 Car. This is MAXelence’s 2nd of the 12 primary sponsored races in the 2011 Nationwide Series Season. Derrike Cope will be behind the wheel and occupies the 19th position in the 2011 Championship Standings.(Jay Robinson Racing)(5-5-2011)
- Fitzpatrick to sub for Mattioli at Dover: With finals at Fordham University in full swing, Chase Mattioli Racing has asked JR Fitzpatrick, driver of the #67 Go Canada Racing Nationwide Ford, to do double-duty at Dover and drive the #99 College Complete.com Ford in the May 13th Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. He will also be competing in the 5-hour ENERGY 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, May 14th. Fitzpatrick is no stranger to Dover, having driven to an 11th place finish in the 2009 Camping World Truck event.(Chase Mattioli Racing PR)(5-5-2011)
- Long testing at Mobile during off-week: UPDATE: Test notes: Johanna Long’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team is scheduled to test at Mobile International Speedway on Wednesday May 4th. Long’s #20 Panhandle Grading & Paving Toyota team will be testing from 10:00 am – 4:00pm. "We hope this is the beginning of more NASCAR teams utilizing Mobile International Speedway as a test facility. Our track surface is very smooth saving money on tires and the banking simulates a number of NASCAR tracks around the country," said Rick Crawford Manager/Promoter of Mobile International Speedway. Grandstands will be open to the public free of charge.(Mobile International Spedway PR)(5-3-2011)
UPDATE: Driver Johanna Long, an 18-year-old newcomer on the national scene, spent the day testing at the Rick Crawford Performance Track with her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. Crawford, the longtime truck series driver who’s the manager and promoter at MIS, would like Long’s outing to be the first in a series of NASCAR tests at the high-banked, half-mile oval. Long’s Panhandle Motorsports team will be at one-mile Dover International Speedway on May 13 for the next Camping World Truck Series race. NASCAR prohibits extra practices at tracks that host races. But Long didn’t come to MIS to prepare specifically for Dover. Instead, her crew traveled from North Carolina to test on a track that, unlike the far-flung speedways of the truck circuit, the Pensacola teen knows intimately. "I’m really used to running late models in Pensacola and Mobile," Long said. "I’ve been racing these racetracks forever – well, four years as compared to a few races. I’m not used to the big mile-and-a-half tracks yet, and Daytona was a big swing for me. "And there’s a difference with the trucks. They’re so much heavier than a late model. The competition in the truck series is crazy. We just need some top-10, top-15 finishes to keep on going with our team. We’ve just got to keep on digging. Hopefully, we can find the sponsorships to run all 25 races. If we can do that, I think we can be really competitive."(AL.com) [During a break in the session, witnessed Rick Crawford spending some time giving rookie Johanna Long some pointers on what he considers the best way to get around Dover International Speedway and how to gain the most momentum coming off the corners. Long is currently competing in her rookie season in the Camping World Truck Series and is still hoping to pick up additional sponsorship to enable the team to run all events this season.(Nancy/Jayski)](5-5-2011)