April 2012 Nationwide Series News

  • Jeffrey Earnhardt return to Nationwide Series at Talladega: Jeffrey Earnhardt will be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series Talladega debut this Saturday, May 5th in the Aaron’s 312. He’ll be driving the #15 FASTWAX.COM  POYNT Mustang for Rick Ware Racing in his 3rd trip to a super speedway synonymous with the Earnhardt name.(Earnhardt PR)(4-30-2012)

  • JD Motorsports loses hauler to fire: JD Motorsports, the #01 Chevy in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, suffered a total loss to their hauler on Sunday evening when it caught fire at their race shop. There were no injuries and the tractor was detached and pulled away before suffering any damages. However, their hauler loaded with equipment, some uniforms, back-up parts, engines, shocks and springs for their operation was a total loss. The only good part was the primary and backup #01 Restaurant.com Chevys for this weekend’s NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway were not on the hauler. The race shop itself didn’t suffer any damage, as well. “The fire department told me the fire started near the refrigerator on the hauler;” said Johnny Davis, team owner. “That’s powered by propane, like everyone else’s is on these haulers. It started around 7 p.m. and we were able to detach the tractor before anything happened to it and get that out of the way. The hauler itself is a total loss; almost everything on there is burnt beyond use. Luckily, the fine folks at Robby Benton Racing (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) stepped up and will let us use their hauler for this weekend’s race. We were also fortunate enough to have Black’s Tire helps us out to get to race this weekend, too. On behalf of everyone on my team, we’d all like to thank them for their help.”(JD Motorsports)(4-30-2012)
  • New NASCAR team to be fielded by Barry Dodson: Barry Dodson has been absent from the NASCAR spotlight for many years but, on Thursday [April 26th] he announced his plan to return with a new team and a new mission. Dodson has been a winner at all levels of NASCAR competition and holds the 1989 Cup Series Crew Chief Championship title [when Rusty Wallace won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship]. However, after tragedy struck his family in 1994, Dodson realized that winning at NASCAR’s premier level didn’t seem as important in his life as it once had. Slowly he disappeared from the NASCAR weekly scene and set a course to get his life straightened out and back on track. Sure, he maintained his connections in the NASCAR community and had many offers to return, but declined to make a comeback until now. Dodson has decided to join forces with Free Pennington and his Free American Racing team out of Augusta, Georgia. “For us to come together in this way is a dream come true for me,” commented Pennington. “Barry is one of my heroes and to think that I could drive for him is such a blessing to me.”
    So, what are the plans for this new team going forward? Pennington says, “Barry Dodson is the leader of this team and is controlling where we go from here. We plan to run 2 to 3 Truck Races and 2 to 3 Nationwide Races in 2012. We’re looking for some additional sponsorship now to determine where we go after that. Barry’s put the deal together and our mission is to take Driven Ministries and plant some seeds at these race tracks.”(more at Victory Lane on Fox54)(4-27-2012)

  • “Dash 4 Cash” returns for 2012: For the fourth consecutive year, NASCAR and Nationwide Insurance have combined to bring the popular  and exciting  “Dash 4 Cash” bonus program back for NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers and fans alike. Introduced in 2009, “Dash 4 Cash” is a one-of-a-kind element that rewards the highest-finishing eligible driver in four designated races with a $100,000 bonus above and beyond the race purse. Fans also can participate via a sweepstakes that culminates with one lucky fan also winning $100,000. Its basic format hasn’t changed: In four select races during the 2012 season, four drivers who have earned the designation to compete for the $100,000 per-race bonus will “have at it.” As a refresher, the “Dash 4 Cash” winner in the designated races does not have to win the race. He or she simply must be the highest-finishing eligible NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship contender in those designated races. There are two key revisions. First, the July 6 race at Daytona International Speedway will serve as the “qualifier” where the top four drivers to receive NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship points in that race will carry the “Dash 4 Cash” designation in the first race of the bonus program, July 14 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Additionally, for the first time, the four “Dash 4 Cash” races will be successive: The July race at New Hampshire followed by the July 22 race at Chicagoland Speedway, the series’ inaugural event on July 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and culminating at the Aug. 4 race at Iowa Speedway.(NASCAR)(4-27-2012)

  • Cargill expands sponsorship of Stenhouse, Jr.: Cargill Beef announced a new paint scheme for the Roush Fenway Racing #6 Ford Mustang driven by defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Additionally, Cargill Beef has expanded its schedule of sponsored races entering grilling season, increasing the total number of 2012 races from 12 to 15, beginning April 27 at Richmond, Va. Cargill will be marrying the power of stock car racing, the expertise and experience of Roush Fenway Racing, the allure and value of the series defending champion driver with beef products that appeal to consumers and retail grocery channel distribution across the nation. A program to help consumers better understand how beef is produced, its nutritional value as part of a balanced diet, and the many types of beef products that feed Americans will also be launched at Richmond. Two new, informative, Internet web sites for consumers who love beef will be launched over the weekend: www.ilikebeefinmybeef.com and www.truthaboutbeef.com.(Roush Fenway)(4-27-2012)
  • Bandit Chippers extends sponsorship of Bliss: Mike Bliss brings back the black #44 Bandit Chippers.com Toyota Camry to the track in Richmond for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on ESPN2. Richmond is the 1st race of a 4 race extension for Bandit Chippers.com on the #44 Toyota and will be followed by primaries at Talladega, their hometown track in Michigan and a TBD race later in the 2012 NNS year.(TriStar Motorsports)(4-27-2012)
  • Teams have bumper covers confiscated: All three Richard Childress Racing teams and all three Turner Motorsports teams replaced the upper front bumper covers on their Nationwide Series cars Thursday after NASCAR confiscated modified bumper covers during inspection. Nationwide teams went through inspection Thursday at Richmond International Raceway to prepare for practice Friday morning and the race Friday night. Any penalties will be announced next week. No crew members were ejected from the track. Included in the group were the cars of series points leader #2-Elliott Sadler, who drives for RCR and has a four-point lead on Roush Fenway Racing’s #6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Along with Sadler, other drivers who had their front bumper covers confiscated were RCR’s #3-Austin Dillon and #33-Kevin Harvick and Turner’s #30-James Buescher, #31-Justin Allgaier and #38-Kasey Kahne.(Sporting News)(4-26-2012)
  • Ryan Blaney making Nationwide debut at Richmond: Ryan Blaney will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) debut this weekend in the Tommy Baldwin Racing #36 SealWrap Chevy. The 18-year-old racer made four NASCAR career starts in the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series (NKNPS) in 2011 and 2012 and will compete in the NKNPS East event Thursday before Friday’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250. Blaney made one start at the .75-mile, Virginia racetrack in the NKNPS East. In his series debut, he started 18th and drove through the field to finish eighth.(TBR)(4-26-2012)
  • Earnhardt Jr. and JRM partners with Clean Coal Campaign: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has signed an agreement to represent and drive awareness to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) as part of its nationwide campaign to promote the importance of clean coal technology. The agreement is part of a larger sponsorship between ACCCE and JR Motorsports that includes primary branding on JRM cars for four events in 2012 and associate branding for the duration of the Nationwide Series season. This is the first-ever sponsorship of a NASCAR team for ACCCE, which supports energy policies that balance coal’s role in supplying the United States with affordable and reliable electricity. The ACCCE will receive primary logo placement and branding on Cole Whitt’s #88 Chevy in Nationwide Series races at Dover International Speedway (June 2), Michigan International Speedway (May 16), Iowa Speedway (Aug. 4) and Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 22). ACCCE will have associate sponsorship placement on Whitt’s car starting this week at Richmond International Raceway and continuing through the remainder of the season. ACCCE will be an associate sponsor on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #5 Chevy in the Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on May 5.(JR Motorsports)(4-26-2012)

  • Restaurant.com to sponsor Mike Wallace: JD Motorsports, Restaurant.com and HalfOffDeals.com have entered into an agreement for Primary and Co-Sponsorship on the team’s #01 Chevy driven by Mike Wallace for the 2012 season. Restaurant.com com is the leading provider of restaurant savings nationwide. The company offers nearly 50,000 daily deals at more than 18,000 restaurants across the country. Customers can visit Restaurant.com or download the Restaurant.com iPhone app to search for restaurant deals in their area or while traveling to the races. The agreement begins with an associate status for this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway, and will move to a Primary Partnership for Talladega Superspeedway the following weekend. Restaurant.com’s Primary Partnership will continue through all four races in the month of May. (JD Motorsports)(4-25-2012)
  • Pastrana ready for series debut: When #99-Travis Pastrana makes his much anticipated NASCAR Nationwide Series debut Friday night at Richmond International Raceway, he’ll have one goal in mind – finish on the lead lap. The 11-time X Games gold medal winner expects to run in seven Nationwide Series races in 2012 with RAB Racing, who formed a Nationwide alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing this month. The 28-year-old action sports star will also run in Thursday’s K&N; Pro Series East race in Pastrana199’s #99 iRacing Toyota.(RAB Racing)(4-25-2012)

  • Childhood Cancer Initiative featured on Whitt’s #88: CURE Childhood Cancer’s Press On Fund will be featured on Cole Whitt’s #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy in Nationwide Series events at Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway as part of a collaborative effort by TaxSlayer and JR Motorsports to raise awareness in the fight against childhood cancer. The Press On Fund’s goal is two-fold: to achieve a greater cure rate for pediatric neuroblastoma and AML, which represents the two childhood cancers with the lowest survival rates. It also aims to mitigate the potentially devastating side effects of current therapies. Press On Fun is a named fund of CURE Childhood Cancer, a 501(c)(3) with a long standing reputation for its commitment to supporting families and finding a CURE. To accomplish its goals, the Press On Fund provides grants to scientists and institutions conducting research into novel, targeted therapies for neuroblastoma and AML. In just under three years the Press On Fund has invested more than $770,000 to save children’s lives.(JR Motorsports)(4-25-2012)

  • Pastrana committed to NASCAR: While pursuing his NASCAR aspirations, #99-Travis Pastrana realizes staying off a motorbike certainly won’t hurt him  literally or figuratively. After a broken ankle postponed his Nationwide Series debut for nearly nine months, the action sports superstar said he’s done with two wheels for a while. “I’m not going to say I’ll never ride a dirt bike or never compete again,” Pastrana told USA TODAY Sports. “But the next year for sure, or two to five years, dirt bikes are off my program.” Pastrana will make his Nationwide debut Friday at Richmond International Raceway amidst questions of how committed he is to NASCAR after scaling back his K&N; East Series schedule to accommodate a full season in Global RallyCross. The former Supercross and Rally America champion said rally is a way to stay in the car while trying to build a sponsorship base to run stock cars full time. “I’m doing what I have to do to race as many rounds of the NASCAR stuff as possible,” he said.(USA Today)(4-24-2012)

  • Rusty Wallace Racing to return at Richmond? UPDATES: Asked on Twitter what nephew Steve Wallace was doing now, #09-Kenny Wallace responded, “Steve will be racing the NNS at Richmond with RWI :)”(4-2-2012)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace tweeted Monday evening, “YES Rusty and Steven will be racing at Richmond in 2 weeks with RWI back by popular demand”.(4-9-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Steve Wallace, a perennial Nationwide Series top-ten points finisher as of late, will make his 2012 NNS debut at the helm of RWR’s #4 Loanmax Ford in the April 27th Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Although his Rusty Wallace Racing team took a hiatus from Nationwide Series competition following 2011, Wallace looks to return to the Nationwide Series in a limited 2012 schedule, beginning with the Richmond event. Although Wallace’s Ford Mustang was prepared out of the Rusty Wallace Racing shops, his Richmond effort is in collaboration with JTG Daugherty Racing. JTGD’s #47 Sprint Cup crew will pit the #4 car, with #47 crew chief, Todd Berrier, calling the shots for Wallace on race day. Blake Bainbridge, the original RWR crew chief for Jamie McMurray, will head the team during practice, along with Wallace’s 2011 car chief, Ricky Cade.(Rusty Wallace Racing), see an image of the car on the #4 team paint schemes page.(4-23-2012)
    UPDATE 3: “I’m really excited to get back on the racetrack finally,” said Wallace. “We’ve worked very hard to make this happen. Blake [Bainbridge] and I, along with a couple of other guys, put the entire car together. We tested it the other day up at Motor Mile Speedway and it went really well. Hopefully we’ll have a smooth race and put together a good finish that can help us firm up some sponsorship to run more races this year.” Wallace, who has nine consecutive top-20 finishes at the 0.75-mile RIR facility, is hoping to parlay this weekend into a part-time ride for the rest of the season. “Right now, our goal is to run 10 or so races this year and look at going racing again full-time in 2013,” said Wallace. “Just like everyone else, though, that’s just dependent on sponsorship. A good run this weekend though, certainly wouldn’t hurt in that department.” (SPEED)(4-23-2012)

  • US Cellular renews Iowa race sponsorship: Officials from U.S. Cellular and Iowa Speedway have come to an agreement on extending the track’s annual late summer Nationwide Series event sponsorship, the U.S. Cellular 250. The U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, scheduled on Saturday, August 4, is expected to draw one of the season’s biggest crowds at Iowa Speedway. Event sponsor since the inaugural event in 2009, U.S Cellular is excited for another great year and the future of the event.(Iowa Speedway)(4-19-2012)
  • Grubb fined by NASCAR: NASCAR announced that Wayne Grubb, crew chief of the #27 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been fined for violations during this past weekend’s event at Texas Motor Speedway. Grubb was fined $2,500 for violation of Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12 (use of hollow bolts in truck trailing arms and panhard bar) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book. The infractions were discovered during opening day inspection on April 12.(NASCAR)(4-17-2012)

  • Pastrana to drive for RAB? UPDATE: When Travis Pastrana, who was in attendance at Texas Motor Speedway, makes his NASCAR debut next weekend at Richmond International Raceway, it may be in a car associated with #09-RAB Racing. Pastrana’s Pastrana 199 Racing has an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing, but the team hasn’t run it’s #99 Nationwide car since last season and does not have a guaranteed starting spot. A deal with RAB, who is a Toyota team and short on sponsorship for regular driver Kenny Wallace, would ensure Pastrana a starting spot for his first Nationwide race. Ryan Truex ran for RAB at Texas, and Wallace is expected to return to the seat of the #09 for the Talladega race, but a driver for Richmond has not yet been announced. If the rumored deal is completed, expect an announcement in the coming days.(NASCAR Insiders)(4-16-2012)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing and RAB Racing announced they have formed an alliance to field entries in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012. As part of the agreement, RAB Racing will acquire additional cars and receive technical and marketing support from MWR. Also, RAB Racing will change its current #09 number to the #99 starting at Richmond on April 27. RAB Racing will field the #99 Boost Mobile/KMC Wheels Toyota Camry for 11-time, X-Games gold medalist and action sports star Travis Pastrana in seven 2012 NASCAR Nationwide races. RAB Racing will also field Nationwide Series entries for MWR in additional races. Michael Waltrip said the alliance isn’t limited to fielding cars for Pastrana. “Whenever we have an opportunity to go Nationwide racing with any of our drivers, it will be in the #99 at RAB Racing,” Waltrip said. “We’ll add to the schedule here pretty soon with another announcement.”(MWR), see an image of the car on the #09 team paint schemes page.(4-17-2012)
  • Texas TV ratings: ESPN2’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night, April 13, earned a 1.2 household coverage rating, averaging 1,656,186 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating and viewership grew from last year’s event, which earned a 1.1 rating and averaged 1,466,234 viewers. Ratings for the NASCAR Nationwide Series are up five percent so far this year across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC compared to this point last year. Four of the six races have seen ratings and viewership increases over last year.(ESPN)(4-17-2012)
  • Tia Rosa on the #23 at Texas: Tia Rosa Tortillas is back on board the #23 Chevy in the Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend. Robert Richardson, Jr., a Texas native, will be piloting the #23 Tia Rosa Chevrolet with a new paint scheme, and crew chief, Greg Conner, will be making the calls from the pit box.(R3 Motorsports)(4-13-2012)
  • Pure Michigan on the #6 at Texas: One lucky fan will be driving home from the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 19 in a custom-made Roush Mustang as part of a partnership between Pure Michigan, Roush Fenway Racing and MIS. The sweepstakes was announced with help from 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who will be driving the #6 Pure Michigan Ford Mustang in the Nationwide Series Race this Friday, April 13 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth. (Roush Fenway Racing)(4-13-2012)
  • Ragan returns to the #27: The stars of the NASCAR Nationwide series face off at the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at the Texas Motor Speedway on April 13th, 2012. David Ragan will be driving for GC Motorsports International (GCMI). Texas Motor Speedway is one of Ragan’s better tracks with a pole position, three top-five and five top-ten finishes in just eight Nationwide Series races at 1.5 mile oval. Once again Fish TV, one of North America’s most successful outdoor media entertainment companies, will be on board.(GCMI)(4-11-2012)
  • Hamlin back in the #18 with Sport Clips: Denny Hamlin will climb behind the wheel of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for his third NASCAR Nationwide Series start this season and the first race of the 2012 season carrying the colors of sponsor Sport Clips Haircuts. As Hamlin competes for 300 miles on the 2-mile track, he will be looking to score his first NNS win in the Lone Star state to go along with his two Sprint Cup Series wins from when he swept the Cup Series events in 2010(JGR)(4-11-2012)
  • Bayne will not race at Texas: A lack of sponsorship forced Roush Fenway Racing to sideline #60-Trevor Bayne for this week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, even though he’s ranked fourth in the Nationwide Series standings. Bayne went into the season knowing the organization could sit the #60 team at any time. Roush President Steve Newmark said Wednesday the organization had hoped to lure a sponsor by running Bayne in the first five races of the season. Bayne is scheduled to race Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race for the Wood Brothers, the team he drove for last year when he won the Daytona 500. It will be his third Cup start of the season, and Texas is where he made his Cup debut in 2010. Newmark said the #60 Ford is not shuttered, and if sponsorship becomes available, Bayne will resume racing in the Nationwide Series on a part-time basis. He leaves trailing series leader Elliott Sadler by 34 points, and with three top-10 finishes in the first five races.(ESPN)(4-11-2012)

  • Ryan Truex in the #09 at Texas: RAB Racing with Brack Maggard and two-time NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East champion Ryan Truex will team up for this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Grime Boss, a division of Nice-Pak Products, Inc., will sponsor Truex as he pilots the #09 Grime Boss Toyota Camry in his first start at the 1.5-mile oval. The 20-year-old driver has compiled one top-five and six top-10 finishes in 26 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. Kenny Wallace, who drove the #09 Toyota Camry in the first five races of the 2012 season, will return to the team at Talladega Superspeedway next month.(RAB Racing)(4-10-2012)
  • Kurt making first start for Kyle Busch Motorsports: Week six of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series race season brings the #54 Monster Energy team to Texas Motor Speedway with a new face behind the wheel. Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and older brother to team owner Kyle Busch, looks to add a victory to the record book for the newly formed Kyle Busch Motorsports Nationwide Series team, and to his own NNS resume that already includes three wins and three poles in 13 career series starts. This weekend’s TMS event will be the first of an estimated 17 Nationwide Series events in which the elder Busch will drive the #54 Monster Energy entry for KBM.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(4-10-2012)

  • Rusty Wallace Racing to return at Richmond? UPDATE: Asked on Twitter what nephew Steve Wallace was doing now, #09-Kenny Wallace responded, “Steve will be racing the NNS at Richmond with RWI :)”(4-2-2012)
    UPDATE: Kenny Wallace tweeted Monday evening, “YES Rusty and Steven will be racing at Richmond in 2 weeks with RWI back by popular demand”>(4-9-2012)

  • Bires driving for Go Green at Texas: Fentonmotors.com will sponsor Kelly Bires and Go Green Racing at Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. The sponsorship will promote Fenton Motors’ 11 automotive dealerships in Texas and Oklahoma. The sponsorship of Kelly Bires pairs Fentonmotors.com with an established talented young driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In his four seasons in the Nationwide Series, Kelly Bires has accumulated three Top-5 finishes and 13 Top-10 finishes.(140BUZZ), see an image of the car on the #39 team paint schemes page.(4-9-2012)

  • Special NASCAR Unites schemes to run: UPDATE: As part of the NASCAR Foundation’s NASCAR Unites program, a few drivers will run special paint schemes at various races over the summer. In the Nationwide Series, #88-Cole Whitt, will run in the Kentucky race in June and #7-Danica Patrick will run in the Nationwide race at the Daytona race in July. See images of the cars on the #7 team paint schemes and #88 paint schemes page.(4-9-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced the launch of “NASCAR Unites  An American Salute,” a patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support U.S. military families.NASCAR Nation will be covered from head to toe  and from splitter to spoiler  in red, white and blue to highlight the summer season, starting and ending at two traditionally patriotic summer NASCAR events held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-27) and Daytona International Speedway (Independence Day Weekend, July 5-7). Additional activities related to the six-week initiative will take place between these “tent-pole” events, including retail programs and other sponsor promotions. Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, along with their partners and sponsors, will showcase support for the program in their own individual ways, from displaying the customized logo on their cars and trucks to developing red, white and blue paint schemes. In addition, NASCAR has provided teams with the option of running a specially designed, patriotic-themed package that would incorporate the spoiler as well as other areas of the car. Additional activities related to the platform will include retail programs and other sponsor promotions to be announced in the weeks leading into the Charlotte event weekend.(NASCAR)(4-9-2012)
  • Austin Dillon Featured in New ESPN NASCAR Spot: Rising young NASCAR star Austin Dillon and the legendary black #3 made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt are featured in a new ESPN promotional spot entitled “The Next Generation” that will begin airing next week. The 21-year-old Dillon is the leading rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. All 33 races in the series will air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC this season and Dillon is the second Nationwide Series driver this year to be featured by ESPN in its promotional campaign for the series, joining 2011 series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The 30-second spot, which continues ESPN’s “Names Are Made Here” marketing campaign for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, traces Dillon’s career through go karts, dirt tracks and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he was series champion last year. At the end of the spot, a team member opens a garage door to reveal the #3 car that Dillon is driving this season. “Here you go, Austin,” the man says. “She’s ready when you are.” The #3, owned by Dillon’s grandfather, longtime NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, has returned to regular use on a car this year for the first time since Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500 and the new ESPN spot reflects the magnitude of the return of the number. Dillon won the Truck Series championship last year driving a Childress-owned #3 truck. The spot was produced by Wieden + Kennedy New York and will run across ESPN platforms.(ESPN)(4-8-2012)

  • JR Motorsports swaps crew chiefs: JR Motorsports has implemented a crew chief swap to its #88 and #5 Nationwide Series teams. Crew chief Bruce Cook has taken over responsibilities for the #88 Chevys driven by Cole Whitt. Until now Cook has spearheaded the organization’s third team  a part-time entry primarily driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.  while lending assistance to the company’s two full-schedule teams. That role will now fall to Tony Eury Sr., who takes charge of the #5 team while continuing his role as JR Motorsports’ competition director. Tony Eury Jr.’s role as crew chief for Danica Patrick and the #7 GoDaddy.com team remains unchanged. The #5 car will race at Texas next weekend with Earnhardt Jr. and sponsor Degree Men. The crew chief change reunites Earnhardt Jr. with Eury Sr. The pair won 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races between 2000 and 2004 as well as Nationwide Series championships in 1998 and 1999.(JR Motorsports)(4-3-2012)
  • Fan response to Nationwide Series positive so far: The numbers are in and the results show fans are “fired up” about the start of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Not since 1995, when NNS regulars won the first seven races, have the first four out of five races of the season been won by non-full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. #30-James Buescher (earning driver championship points in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), #2-Elliott Sadler (two wins) and defending series champion #6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the first four races of the season. Joey Logano finally broke that string on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway.
    Following the NNS at Auto Club, 3,932 Official NASCAR Fan Council members (avid NASCAR fans) responded to a question focusing on their feelings about series regulars winning against NASCAR Sprint Cup full-timers. Of those, over 70 percent “agreed” that the wins by Buescher, Sadler and Stenhouse:
    • Makes me feel good about the NASCAR Nationwide Series
    • I’d like to see more NASCAR Nationwide Series regulars win races
    • I expect to see NASCAR Nationwide Series regulars win NASCAR Nationwide Series races
    • I’m more interested in the NASCAR Nationwide Series because regulars are winning
    NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers not dominating NASCAR Nationwide Series races this year also resonates with the Fan Council. Of the survey participants, over 80 percent “disagreed” with the following statements:
    • I miss seeing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regulars winning in the NASCAR Nationwide Series
    • I’m less interested in the NASCAR Nationwide Series because my favorite Cup driver isn’t racing
    Methodology: Conducted among members of the Official NASCAR Fan Council. Members are avid NASCAR fans, 6 or 7 on a 7-point interest scale where 7 is extremely interested in NASCAR. 3,932 respondents completed the survey fielded March 26-27, 2012. (NASCAR)(4-3-2012)
  • Efland returning to the #4 at Texas: Danny Efland has agreed to drive a Johnny Davis Motorsports Nationwide entry April 13th at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will be on Friday night under the lights. Danny and Johnny have been working to keep the #4 car locked in with Danny finishing a career high 13th place at Daytona and crew chiefing the car at several other events. Look for a sponsorship partner soon.(Efland PR)(4-3-2012)
  • Timmy Hill returning to Nationwide Series: Timmy Hill, the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, will return to the Nationwide Series with Rick Ware Racing for the remainder of the 2012 season, starting with the Friday, April 13th event at Texas Motor Speedway. Hill and the RWR team attempted the move to the Sprint Cup Series this year [in the #37]. “Rick Ware Racing has been awesome to me throughout my entire racing career,” said Hill. “We as a team took a chance to compete in the Sprint Cup Series and move this team to the next level. We learned a lot from this experience, but it’s time to take a step back and regroup on what we learned to apply that for the future. So we are temporarily putting the Cup program on hold. We are not out of racing and you will see myself and Rick Ware Racing at Texas ready to go in the Nationwide Series race.”(Hill PR)(4-3-2012)
  • OneMain Financial returns as title sponsor of fall Nationwide race at Dover: OneMain Financial and Dover International Speedway have announced a renewed partnership for 2012 with OneMain Financial returning as the title sponsor of the fall NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Monster Mile, the Sept. 29, 2012 “OneMain Financial 200.” This will be the second straight year OneMain Financial will sponsor the fall NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover. The company’s NASCAR presence continues to grow, as it is the primary sponsor of the Richard Childress Racing #2 OneMain Financial Chevy, driven by Elliott Sadler, in the Nationwide Series again this year. Sadler has already piloted the car to Victory Lane twice this season, winning at Phoenix International Raceway on March 3 and Bristol Motor Speedway on March 17. The Sept. 29 “OneMain Financial 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race is part of another triple-header NASCAR weekend at the Monster Mile that also includes the Sept. 28 NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East race and the Sept. 30 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.(Dover Speedway)(4-3-2012)