- Johnson is first quarter driver of the year: On the track and in the media’s opinion, Jimmie Johnson was simply the best as he was voted the winner of the Driver of the Year for the first quarter of the 2010 racing season. Johnson, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and three-time Driver of the Year, led his series’ points standing and garnered the most first-place votes in the balloting by leading broadcasters and journalists in the United States. Johnson, 34, had a streak of three wins in four races, and six top-nine finishes in the first quarter, which ended on April 19th. In the voting, Johnson took 11 first-place ballots and totaled 129 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Australia’s Will Power, the Penske Racing driver of the IZOD IndyCar Series #12 Verizon car was second with two first-place votes and 101 points. Power won two of the four races, three poles and no finish worse than fourth. John Force the 1996 Driver of the Year, racing in the NHRA’s POWERade Funny Car division was tied with NASCAR’s Sprint Cup driver, Denny Hamlin for third in the voting with 48 points. Force had three first-place votes and Hamlin had two. A total of 18 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Jason Meyers, from the World of Outlaws, who had one first-place vote.(Racin’ Today)(5-5-2010)
- Earnhardt Jr. To Reach Make-A-Wish Milestone at Charlotte: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. began his relationship with Make-A-Wish Foundation in 1999 as a driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Now more than 10 years later, the seven-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is closing in on his 200th wish granted, a milestone shared only by a handful of America’s top athletes. Earnhardt Jr. will facilitate No. 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway during Sprint All-Star Race weekend. "To meet these kids and families is a privilege," Earnhardt Jr. said. "A lot of times the Make-A-Wish meeting is the best part of the whole weekend. It’s amazing that when you talk to the kids and learn about their lives, you learn a lot about yourself as well." To commemorate Earnhardt Jr.’s 200th wish milestone, AMP Energy and the National Guard have donated the hood of the #88 Chevy to The Dale Jr. Foundation for the Sprint All-Star race on May 22. The predominantly black paint scheme was designed by Earnhardt Jr., and it prominently features the logo of The Dale Jr. Foundation. "I want to thank AMP Energy and the National Guard for donating the hood of the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It’s their advertising space, they pay for it, and for the second year in a row they were gracious enough to give us prime location on the car and help bring exposure to my foundation and the charities we support, like Make-A-Wish. I think the fans will embrace the paint scheme and help us continue to grant wishes for kids dealing with these medical setbacks, whether it’s sending them to Hawaii, hiking the Grand Canyon, or getting a computer to stay connected with their friends. Whatever they want, they should get." In conjunction with the All-Star paint scheme, TDJF is ramping up fundraising initiatives and calling on fans to raise awareness and money for Make-A-Wish Foundation.(JR Motorsports) for more info see my Racing Charities page and see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-5-2010)
- Budweiser to become official beer of NFL; Michelob renews with PGA: When InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch in November ’08, there was angst across the industry that sports’ biggest spender was going to pull the plug. It looks like those fears were unfounded, as Coors is out and A-B is back as the NFL’s league sponsor in the beer category, with rights that begin in the ’11 season. Terms were not immediately available, but sources said A-B is paying twice what Coors paid. Coors has been an NFL league sponsor since ’02. A-B was an NFL sponsor from ’88-’01, sharing the category for some of those years with Miller. "The sponsorship did a lot for Coors as far as getting out front of competitors like Bud and Miller,” said a knowledgeable industry source, "but they just reached a point where the value wasn’t there for what the NFL wanted.” A-B’s domestic share of the beer market is around 50%, while MillerCoors combines for 31%. With 22 team sponsorships, including a huge Cowboys deal for another decade, MillerCoors will not walk away from the NFL, although a year as a lame duck will not be easy. And of course, its NFL coaches campaign could run with or without NFL IP.(Sports Business Journal)AND: The PGA Tour and Anheuser-Busch, Inc. announced an extension of their longstanding marketing partnership by three years. As part of the agreement, Michelob Ultra is the "Official Beer of the PGA Tour" and O’Doul’s the official non-alcohol brew, both through 2013. Anheuser-Busch has been an official marketing partner of the PGA Tour since 1994. Through this partnership, Anheuser-Busch, with the support of wholesalers, will continue to sponsor more than 40 PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour events.(PGA PR)(5-5-2010)
- Front Row Motorsports Partners with Rainier Ice: Beginning this weekend, Front Row Motorsports and race fans across the country will learn a little more about the Pacific Northwest’s best-kept secret. The Stratford Bottling Company, with its bottled water brand Rainier Ice, is the newest partner of the team and drivers Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland. The Yakima, Washington-based company will provide its premium all-natural artesian water to the team for the rest of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The Rainier Ice logo will be featured on both the #34 A&W All American Food/Long John Silver’s Ford driven by Kvapil and the #37/38 Taco Bell Ford driven by David Gilliland. Both drivers will also feature the logo on their uniforms.(Breaking Limits PR)(5-5-2010)
- Johnson at GM for 75th anniversary of Suburban: The Chevrolet Suburban, now made only at General Motors’ Arlington assembly plant, had its 75th anniversary celebrated Monday as the longest continuously produced vehicle in the U.S. Unveiled as the Suburban Carryall, it could seat eight people comfortably and offered whitewall tires, a radio and a heater as options. Unlike other 1930s cars that had wooden sides and canvas tops, the early Suburban was designed as a more durable truck-type vehicle with an all-steel body. GM officials at the Arlington plant showcased one of the first Suburbans ever produced – a yellow 1936 model with large round headlights and a spare tire on each side. The interior featured a big steering wheel and spacious tan and dark brown vinyl seats that could be removed for extra space. GM on Monday also debuted the 75th anniversary Diamond Edition Suburban, which will be available this summer. Only 2,750 will be made. NASCAR’s #48-Jimmie Johnson, who races in Chevy cars, drove one of the limited-edition Suburbans on Monday and later signed some autographs for several plant employees.(Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)(5-5-2010)
- Bill France Jr. featured on #48 at Darlington: A special decal commemorating the induction of Bill France Sr. into NASCAR’s inaugural Hall of Fame class will be featured on the decklid of Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevy for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. The decals being run are part of a collaborative program to recognize the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Class will be inducted in a ceremony on May 23 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.(GMR Marketing PR)(5-5-2010)
- Facility improvements hightlight Darlington race weekend: Fans attending the 2010 SHOWTIME Southern 500 this weekend will notice several facility improvements around Darlington Raceway. Many of the improvements are a direct result of feedback received from Darlington’s passionate fans. When the green-flag drops on the Royal Purple 200 presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts on Friday and the SHOWTIME Southern 500 on Saturday it will be from a new illuminated flag stand. The new flag stand, installed during the off-season, features illuminated signage to showcase Darlington Raceway sponsors. Fans sitting in the Pearson grandstand in turn four will notice new and improved restroom facilities that will help decrease wait times during this weekend’s events. The facilities are also equipped with water-saving technology to reduce the number of gallons of water used in the track’s restrooms. New parking lot signage has been added to the track’s lots at Gate 40 off of Highway 151 that will make finding cars easier after a long night of racing at the track "Too Tough To Tame." The signs all feature legendary NASCAR drivers including South Carolina natives, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson. Finally, Darlington Raceway expanded its family section seating to include sections on the frontstretch and backstretch. Each Family Section offers a non-smoking, non-drinking, family friendly atmosphere for the 2010 events at Darlington Raceway.(Darlington PR)(5-5-2010)
- American Red Cross on the #43 at Darlington: Baker Curb Racing announced that they will assist in the relief efforts for the flooding in Nashville by running an American Red Cross paint scheme on Scott Lagasse Jr.’s #43 Ford Friday in the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway. In addition, Greg Biffle’s #27 Red Man Moist Snuff Ford Fusion will carry an American Red Cross symbol on the C post. NASCAR fans can show their support for The Nashville Area Red Cross and help in the efforts to continue providing relief to victims of disaster flooding several ways:
– Visit www.nashvilleredcross.org and click DONATE NOW to make an online gift
– Mail a check to the Nashville Area Red Cross, 2201 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203
– Call (615) 250-4300 to make a donation by phone
– Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation on your mobile phone
(Baker Curb PR), see an image of the car on the #43 Nationwide Series paint scheme page.(5-5-2010)
- Salvation Army logo on the #01: The J-D Motorsports #01 entry at Darlington will carry the logo of the Salvation Army. J-D Motorsports marketing VP, Tony Priscaro, is a strong supporter of the charitable work of the Salvation Army and the team wants to give that organization a boost during these lean times. Please take time out from your busy day to remember the work of the Salvation Army is not just at Christmas.(J-D Motorsports PR)(5-5-2010)
- Z-Line on the #18 & #20 at Darlington: Last fall, it was the Battle of Richmond. This week, it’s the Duel at Darlington. And just like last year, thanks to Z-Line Designs, the real winners will be the charities of Operation Helmet and Racing for Kids. Kyle Busch and Jim Sexton (Z-Line Designs founder and CEO), along with Racing for Kids, will square off against Denny Hamlin, Monica Sexton (Jim’s wife) and Operation Helmet in Friday night’s Royal Purple 200 presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Bragging rights will be on the line as Z-Line Designs, the designer and import manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture, will sponsor both the #18 Toyota of Busch and the #20 Toyota of Hamlin. Busch’s #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota will feature the logo of Racing for Kids, a charity founded in Detroit in 1989 that uses the popularity of motorsports to focus public attention and funding on the health care needs of children. Hamlin’s #20 Z-Line Designs Toyota will feature the logo of Operation Helmet, a 100-percent volunteer, non-partisan charitable organization headquartered in Montgomery, Texas, that provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And while Jim and Monica Sexton will be cheering on their respective drivers to victory lane, the charities will ultimately come out victorious. Prior to the race, the Sextons will present checks for $25,000 apiece to Racing for Kids and Operation Helmet. And the Z-Line Designs driver that finishes the highest in the race will earn an extra $10,000 for the charity represented on their car.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR), see an image of the cars on the #20 Nationwide Series paint scheme page.(5-5-2010)
- Gubernatorial candidate on the #1 at Darlington: Phoenix Racing Inc. will support Andre Bauer’s campaign for Governor by running his campaign logo at the Royal Purple 200 presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts at Darlington Motor Speedway on May 7th, 7:00pm EST. Rookie of the year contender James Buescher will be driving the #1 Phoenix Racing car wrapped with the Andre Bauer Republican for Governor logo.(Phoenix Racing PR)(5-5-2010)
- Mobile-Shop sponsoring #81 for 5 more races: The Mobile-Shop Company will extend its primary sponsorship of the #81 Dodge, fielded by MacDonald Motorsports and driven by Michael McDowell in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, for five upcoming events. After previously adorning the hood and quarter-panels of the #81 in four previous races this season, Mobile-Shop will join MacDonald Motorsports for races in Darlington, S.C. (May 7), Dover, Del. (May 15), Concord, N.C. (May 29), Lebanon, Tenn. (June 5), and Sparta, Ky. (June 12).(MMI / MacDonald PR)(5-5-2010)
- Richmond TV Ratings: ESPN2’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 30, earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.1, averaging 1,357,449 viewers. The rating was down from the 1.2 rating earned for last year’s race, which also aired on ESPN2. Excluding Monday rain-out races, ESPN2’s average rating for NASCAR Nationwide Series races so far this season is 1.8, up from a 1.7 average at this point last year.(ESPN PR)(5-5-2010)
- Kids Embrace sponsoring Barrett: Stanton Barrett has a date with the Lady in Black, also known as Darlington Raceway, this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide series Rick Ware Racing (RWR) #41 Kids Embrace Chevy. Kids Embrace, maker of the convertible child safety seat, is the primary sponsor, and Barrett, who designs, directs, and executes crash scenes for top Hollywood films, understands the importance of using the proper safety restraint system.(Rick Ware Racing PR)(5-5-2010)
- Darlington Rookie Notes:
– James Buescher was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the BUBBA Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Buescher scored a 12th-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the second time this season.
– Brian Scott leads Buescher by five points (92-87) in the overall Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Royal Purple 200 at Darlington Raceway.
– Scott is 10th-place overall in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings, the best of any Raybestos Rookie.
– Three Raybestos Rookies have scored top-10 finishes this season: Scott, Buescher and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
– Erik Darnell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2009 Royal Purple 200. Darnell scored a fourth-place finish, the best by a rookie at Darlington since Johnny Benson placed fourth in the 1994 fall race.
– Justin Allgaier posted a fifth-place finish last year at Darlington, giving the Raybestos rookie class two top-five finishers in the same race at the historic racetrack for the first time since the program was created in 1989 (37 previous races).
– The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie at Darlington is third-place by Todd Bodine in 1991 (fall race).
– Kyle Busch is the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Darlington, holding the top spot once for 12 laps in 2004 (fall race).
(Raybestos / Camp & Assoc PR)(5-5-2010)
- Hornaday, Bodine & Skinner to take part in Hall of Fame ceremony UPDATE 2 Add Johnny Benson to the list; also, Jack Sprague: Three former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions are among those who will represent the trucks in the Grand Opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame May 11 in Charlotte. Ron Hornaday Jr., Todd Bodine (#30 Toyota) and Mike Skinner, three of the series’ original drivers, will participate in the opening ceremonies. Joining them will be Ricky Carmichael (# 4 Monster Energy Chevrolet), who will sign autographs at the event. ornaday’s day will be full. Along with Richard Petty and Junior Johnson, as well as other NASCAR national defending champions Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, Hornaday will officially open the NASCAR Hall of Fame between 9:30 and 9:50am. The group will then be the first to enter the building after its official opening and each driver will participate in a five-minute meet-and-greet session with fans. Skinner, the 1995 champion, will be in attendance for the opening ceremony and participate in a media event at 10 a.m. He will also take part in fan activities from 10:30-11:30am. Bodine, the 2006 series champion, is also scheduled to take part in the opening ceremonies, media event and fan activities throughout the day.(NASCAR PR)[For more info on the Hall of Fame Grand Opening, visit the Jayski Appearances Page.](5-4-2010)
UPDATE: Have confirmed that former Camping World Series Champion, Johnny Benson will also be in attendance for the Grand Opening Ceremony of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(5-4-2010)
UPDATE 2: Also hearing that three-time Truck Champion Jack Sprague will be attending.(5-5-2010)
- Bodine back with Gunselman Motorsports in Cup: After starting-and-parking at Richmond, an interesting pairing returns to the entry list at Darlington, with driver Todd Bodine getting back behind the wheel of the No. 64. The duo had initially partnered in February, 2009 along with brother Geoff, planning to build a full-time Cup team over the long haul. But by Memorial Day, just three starts combined with seven DNQs caused the partnership to run out of money and patience. All parties parted ways, and the Gunselman team only qualified for three more races the rest of the year, finishing none of them. Now, Bodine is back behind the wheel, although sponsorship has yet to be secured for Saturday night’s race. Should he qualify, it’ll be the 232nd Cup start for the 46-year-old, who has seven top 5s and 21 top 10s at the Cup level. (Frontstretch.com)(5-5-2010)