December 2012 Nationwide Series News

  • Long returning to ML Motorsports: #70-Johanna Long is proud of her team’s effort and believes a second season together will provide added benefits. “We’re working on everything as a team,” Long said. “I know the team is working incredibly hard on everything back at the shop including our pit stops. We take notes at the end of every race and again at the end of the season and we’re going to focus on improving at every level.” Long signed a two-year deal with ML Motorsports prior to the 2012 season and hasn’t placed too much importance on joining a larger team. While she wants to be more competitive and continue to improve, she’s focused on impressing with ML Motorsports before entertaining the notions of free agency. It’s easy to forget that she is just 20 years old. After all, she entered the Truck Series at age 18 and has quietly risen through the ranks ever since. She hasn’t set a timetable for her progression but definitely has her sights set on someday competing in the Sprint Cup Series. “When I was younger, I had a timetable,” Long said. “Now I understand that you have to have the right people take a chance on you and provide the opportunity. It’s hard to set a timetable but I definitely want to work my way towards the Sprint Cup Series.” Long and ML Motorsports have yet to finalize their 2013 plans but expect to run a similar schedule to last year barring an increase in funding. The team ran 22 of 33 races last season and finished 20th in the overall standings.(SB Nation)(12-29-2012)
  • Gase to drive full time for Jimmy Means: Holidays came early for Joey Gase and NASCAR Nationwide Series car owner Jimmy Means. They both confirmed that the 19-year-old race car driver will compete in the full Nationwide Series schedule with #52-Means Racing. Gase, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa raced in 18 events last season, including 12 with JMR. He has 23 career starts, debuting Aug of 2011 at Iowa Speedway with a finish of 20th. Gase was 30th in overall points in 2012, finishing a career best of 19th with JMR in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 20th. “Joey really stepped up for us at the end of the year,” Means said. “We made some races that were very competitive and hard to make. We out ran some really good cars. I think he impressed a lot of people.”(Gase PR)(12-28-2012)
  • Congrats: Reed Sorenson got engaged to Laura Frame over the Christmas Holidays. Laura is a Kindergarten Teacher in Mooresville, NC. They will set a date in 2013.(12-27-2013)
  • Zipadelli helping step daughter battle through cancer: Scott Zipadelli, the stepfather of two teenagers, including one midway through a 54-week cancer treatment program, can remember the days when he would worry about who might drive the #99 Nationwide Series car or about which team he would work for in the upcoming season. He no longer sweats it. Once a guy whose identity revolved around his job as a NASCAR crew chief, the job no longer defines Zipadelli. He still works as a crew chief, still gets angry over a mistake on a pit stop, but he lives so much more for his family now. Zipadelli, who comes from a racing family, had always heard the old adage that racers take things too seriously, that crew members need to relax a little because, after all, they don’t cure cancer. Now, life has taught Zipadelli that lesson in a cruel fashion. Now he actually tries to figure out how his stepdaughter Torie Costa will get cured from cancer. “It’s a life-changing experience,” Zipadelli said. “That’s the only way I can describe it.”
    Torie, now 17, has battled to the midway point of a 54-week program to treat stage 4 childhood rhabdomyosarcoma. A rare form of muscular cancer, it comprises only 3.5 percent of all childhood cancer cases. A few hundred are diagnosed annually and only one in 1 million teenagers over age 15 get the disease. Less than a third of those diagnosed with stage 4 live past a few years. They celebrate this Christmas thankful they can spend time together as Torie recovers from one of 34 rounds of chemotherapy. Speaking earlier this month after she completed a five-week, 23-treatment radiation program in early December at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Torie began her first of 10 final rounds of chemotherapy the week before Christmas. The treatment hopefully will destroy the tumor in her abdomen as well as kill all the cancer cells that lived in the fluid that filled her chest and caused that shortness of breath in June. So far, the treatments have gone relatively well, and she doesn’t have a bitter bone in her body.
    For the last half of the 2012 season, once the team plane landed, Zipadelli quickly headed home. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. “I always thought this was everything for myself personally, what I did day-to-day was about me and my career and what made me happy,” Zipadelli said. “Now it has nothing to do with what I want. It’s all about taking care of them. “So I wish something like this had happened to me 10 years ago. It has made me a better crew chief because I don’t worry about things that don’t matter. I worry about the things that do matter. I don’t have time to worry about all that useless junk. I deal with what I have to deal with and then I’m out of there. And then I come back with a clear mind.” Zipadelli missed one race and plans to miss more next year if Torie needs him at home or at the hospital.
    “Before when he didn’t have a great day of work, he’d come through the door and be down,” Torie says. “Now he walks through the door and he’s happy to see everyone. “It’s completely changed him. We take a lot more family outings together. Instead of having it separated with Scott and his cars and then me and my sister and my mom, it’s all four of us now.” Thankful for that, Zipadelli just wonders why it took so long for him to get it. “Every off time is spent with family, every second,” Zipadelli says. “I’m more satisfied with that than I was spending Sunday in my garage working on some old car. “I hope that never changes.”(Sporting News)(12-24-2012)
  • Congrats: NASCAR’s Trevor Bayne is stepping out of the fast lane and settling down. The Knoxville area native and 2011 Daytona 500 champion has announced his engagement on Twitter. “Well Ladies and Gentlemen, she said yes,” Bayne tweeted. The message was accompanied with a photo of Bayne and his fiance, Ashton Clapp, at a ski slope. Bayne’s father confirmed the engagement via text message to WATE 6 Sports on Saturday. Rocky Bayne said Clapp is also from the Knoxville area and said no wedding date has been set.(WATE)(12-23-2012)
  • Klligerman to Kyle Busch Motorsports? UPDATES: After a tumultuous 2012 season that saw him drive in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series’ for Penske Racing, Brad Keselowski Racing and Red Horse Racing, expect an announcement next week that Parker Kligerman will compete full-time on the Nationwide Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2013. Kligerman was released from Penske’s #22 Nationwide Dodge in early August in favor of Ryan Blaney, and departed BKR’s Truck Series operation shortly afterward, also in favor of Blaney. He won for Red Horse at Talladega Superspeedway in only his seventh start. While Kligerman declined to confirm the deal today, he did say he is “excited about my prospects for 2013” and feels he will “have every opportunity to be successful” with his new team. “It’s the right place for me, at the right time.” KBM General Manager Rick Ren was unavailable for comment today.(Godfather Motorsports)(11-21-2012)
    UPDATE: According to a Tweet from Mike Bagley, Parker Kligerman announced on SiriusXM’s The Morning Drive Tuesday morning that he will drive the #77 for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series in 2013.(12-18-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch Motorsports posted a YouTube video announcing Kligerman was joining the team.(12-18-2012)
    UPDATE 3: Eric Phillips has been promoted to the position of crew chief for the #77 Camry team with driver Parker Kligerman in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the 2013 season. Since joining KBM for its inaugural Truck Series season in 2010, Phillips has guided the #18 team to 17 victories, 8 poles, 2,243 laps led, 38 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes across 72 starts. Under his guidance, KBM became the first team since the Truck Series originated in 1995 to capture the owner’s championship in its inaugural season and led the series in wins in each of its first two seasons. Phillips’ 27 career Truck Series wins rank second to KBM General Manager Rick Ren (28) on the all-time list.(KBM)(12-20-2012)
  • Kyle Busch to split time with his team and Gibbs’? On the heels of a major announcement by Kyle Busch Motorsports, signing Parker Kligerman to drive their #77 entry in the Nationwide Series it turns out there’s a driver he’ll be replacing  the owner himself. Multiple sources tell Kyle Busch is prepared to go Nationwide Series racing behind the wheel for 2013, but with Joe Gibbs Racing, leaving his operation a one-car outfit while trying to return to his winning ways in the sport’s second-tier division. Busch, with a car number TBD (either 54 or 18) will bring sponsor Monster Energy to the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide outfit. Like full-time entries Brian Vickers (#20) and Elliott Sadler (#11), Busch will receive support from JGR engines and chassis in-house while pursuing a limited schedule of races (20-24). Sources claim the move was pushed not by the sponsor but by Gibbs, who wanted Busch to race under his roof if pursuing Nationwide Series competition in 2013.(Frontstretch)
    BUT According to a tweet by SBNation’s Jeff Gluck, “[Kyle Busch Motorsports] spokesman says Kyle Busch will run partial season in team’s #54 car in addition to Kligerman’s full season in 77”.(12-19-2012)
  • NASCAR makes personnel changes; Wayne Auton becomes Nationwide Series director: In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
    • Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.
    • Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report to John Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
    • Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.
    Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.
    With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport’s racing series, both at the national and international levels.(NASCAR)(12-18-2012)
  • Cargill sponsoring Bayne: Roush Fenway Racing’s #6 Ford Mustang will have a familiar look when Trevor Bayne takes the reins of the Championship team in 2013. The organization announced that Cargill will return as a partial-season primary sponsor for the #6 NASCAR Nationwide Series team next year, starting with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Crew chief Mike Kelley will return to lead the team. “We still have room for one or two more primary sponsors next season on the remaining races with Trevor and the #6 team,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. “It’s an unusual but exciting opportunity for a potential partner to join a proven team seeking its third consecutive championship in the Nationwide Series, and with a driver who is one of the most popular in the sport.”(Roush Fenway)(12-18-2012)
  • Dillon tests at Mid-Ohio: NASCAR driver #3-Austin Dillon got a taste Monday of the challenges that Nationwide Series competitors will face at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August. Dillon, part of the Richard Childress Racing team, became the first and maybe the last driver to do a test run before next year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at the 2.4-mile road course in Lexington. NASCAR typically doesn’t allow drivers to make test runs at tracks on the current year’s schedule, said Mid-Ohio spokesman Jesse Ghiorzi, so Dillon just got in under the wire before 2013 begins. He said the racing circuit may make an exception to its ban on in-year test runs at some point in 2013 since a NASCAR race has never been run at Mid-Ohio. If so, it could include multiple cars that would speed their way through the race course’s 13 turns and 15-foot elevation changes.(Columbus Business Journal)(12-17-2012)
  • Stenhouse visiting Nationwide headquarters: Lately, a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. visit has become as much of a Columbus December tradition as Christmas trees and snowmen. For the second consecutive season, Stenhouse, the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver champion, and his #6 Roush Fenway Racing team will take part in a full day  and evening  of activities Wednesday, hosted by series sponsor Nationwide Insurance in its headquarters’ hometown of Columbus, Ohio. This is the fifth consecutive year that Nationwide Insurance has welcomed the series driver champion to its home turf, and the second consecutive year that Stenhouse and his entire team  led by crew chief Mike Kelley  has made the trip. Since the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards in Miami last month, Stenhouse has been busy celebrating his back-to-back series championships. He participated in NASCAR Champion’s Week by doing burnouts down Las Vegas Blvd., in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford Fusion, followed by last week’s USO tour to the Middle East and Germany. Stenhouse kicks off the day with an exclusive Q&A; session with Nationwide associates followed by a tour of the corporate headquarters with the No. 6 championship-winning team. After the Q&A; session and tour, Stenhouse and his team will sign autographs for associates on site. Then the driver and champion team will visit the new facilities at Nationwide Children’s Hospital where the team will exchange gifts and play games with patients. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, an international leader in pediatric research and care, serves nearly one million patient visits annually, caring for children from every state and 28 nations round the world. The visit is fresh off last month’s announcement of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2013 schedule. The day concludes with a trip to the Jerome Schottenstein Center where Stenhouse and the champion team will be honored during the pregame festivities of the Ohio State University men’s basketball game against Savannah State. Stenhouse Jr. will present the game ball to the Buckeye basketball team.(NASCAR)(12-12-2012)
  • Hornish gets new spotter: When Sprint Cup teams roll into Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2013 car test, Tab Boyd will debut in his new role as spotter for Joey Logano and the #22 Penske Racing Ford. Boyd also will assume spotter duties for Sam Hornish Jr. on the Nationwide Series tour and work as a fabricator for Penske Racing during the week. Boyd has worked as a spotter for the last decade, most recently with Danica Patrick. The 35-year-old Pensacola native worked at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing where he took on the same role with Juan Pablo Montoya prior to the 2012 season.(Fox Sports)(12-8-2012)
  • Wallace returning to JD Motorsports; #4 car open: While the term off-season is being used by some in motorsports, its anything but that at the JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller shops right now. With the new Chevrolet Camaro body coming to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the team has been making the appropriate changes to their #01 and #4 Chevy in stock. And, while veteran and winning-NNS driver Mike Wallace is returning to wheel the #01, there are some openings for qualified drivers in the team’s #4 entry. Also, the #01 team is seeking a crew chief for next season. And, like all teams in the three NASCAR series, they are seeking primary and associate marketing partners to become part of the team to help in their endeavors. The team has a “first of its kind in racing” alliance with Clemson University via their Clemson Racing to connect JD Motorsports with the school’s alumni and current business associates. From there, partnerships would promote them via the usage of JD Motorsports across the country through their Nationwide Series races. “We are committed to run the 2013 season with our two teams,” said Johnny Davis, who will be making his 475th start as an owner at Daytona in February. “We have done a lot of planning, bought some cars in the latter part of last year and have been improving on our motor program here and there.(JD Motorsports)(12-7-2012)
  • Brian Scott to RCR? UPDATE: Look for Brian Scott to return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series next season, driving the #2 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing. Scott finished ninth in the final 2012 Nationwide standings, driving the #11 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, with two Top-5 and 11 Top-10 finishes in 33 starts and a best finish was a third at Dover in early June. He became the odd man out when JGR signed Elliott Sadler and former series champion Brian Vickers to full-time Nationwide deals for 2013. Multiple sources close to the team say Scott will now replace Sadler in RCR’s No. 2 Chevy. There is currently no word on sponsorship. RCR Director of Corporate Communication Dave Hart did not comment specifically on Scott via e-mail today, saying only that the team will have “a full lineup announcement for all three series sometime in the next couple of weeks.”(Godfather Motorsports)(11-21-2012)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing has signed a multi-year agreement with Brian Scott to be the driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevy Camaro for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Scott, 24, of Boise, Idaho, has twice finished in the top 10 of the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings in three full seasons of competition. He finished eighth in 2011 and ninth this past year. He finished 14th and was runner-up in the series’ rookie of the year standings in 2010. Phil Gould, car chief for the $2 team in 2012 and with previous experience at RCR as a car chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been promoted to crew chief for the team.(RCR)(12-6-2012)
  • 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Top Performances: With a second consecutive championship in hand, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. departs the NASCAR Nationwide Series with credentials suggesting future superstardom. tenhouse, who’ll join Roush Fenway Racing teammates  and past NASCAR Nationwide champions  Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle as a full-fledged NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor in 2013, is just the sixth competitor in series history to win back-to-back titles. The 25-year-old Olive Branch, Miss., competitor is the first to win consecutive championships since Martin Truex Jr. in 2004-05. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-99), Randy LaJoie (1996-97), Larry Pearson (1986-87) and Sam Ard (1983-84) are the other back-to-back champions. Winning a NASCAR Nationwide Series championship is a special achievement, and could foreshadow future greatness. Two previous champions  Brad Keselowski and Bobby Labonte  have gone on to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Nine of the past 10 champions are current NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, of which five qualified for the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Although Stenhouse excelled, his accomplishments in the #6 Roush Fenway Ford weren’t sufficient to wrest owner championship honors from the #18 Toyota of Joe Gibbs Racing. With multiple drivers behind the wheel  including Joey Logano, who supplied seven victories  JGR won its fourth owner crown in the past five seasons.Top Drivers
    Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Hands down, Stenhouse had the season’s top resume among points-eligible competitors, championship trophy notwithstanding. He went from a two-win season in 2011 to six victories and led the points standings eight times. Stenhouse never fell out of the top three after recovering from a three-race stretch in late May-early June during which he finished 25th or worse. Five of his six victories came on intermediate tracks  Atlanta, Chicagoland, Kansas, Las Vegas and Texas. He also won for the third consecutive time at Iowa in May and posted a top-five finish on a road course (Watkins Glen) and superspeedway (Talladega).Elliott Sadler/Joey Logano (Honorable Mention)  Sadler fought the good fight and nearly won a championship for the second consecutive year. The driver of the #2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet led an amazing 25 times during the 33-race season, never ranking lower than second. He won four times. Logano, the NASCAR Sprint Cup outlier who couldn’t earn driver points but literally locked up the owner championship for Joe Gibbs Racing, won nine times in a partial season of 22 races. In his final season with JGR, Logano also led the series with six Coors Light Poles.

    Comeback Driver of the Year
    Sam Hornish Jr.  Here’s a guy who was without a full-time ride in 2011. And this year, he contended for a championship for parts of the season. Hornish’s first victory in the next-to-final race of 2011 supplied momentum that carried the former open-wheel champion to his best season in NASCAR. The Ohioan wasn’t able to repeat that Phoenix triumph but Hornish did the next best thing, driving the #12 Penske Racing Dodge to a fourth-place championship finish. Hornish, who became a double-duty driver midseason, benefited from the extra track time recording second-place finishes at Indianapolis, Montreal and Kentucky.

    Michael Annett (Honorable Mention)  The Iowan finished among the top 10 in points for the third time in four seasons but with six top-five and 17 top-10 finishes he reached the elite level  on stage at the Champion’s Awards banquet  for the first time. But this wasn’t exactly a driver “comeback,” in the truest sense of the word. But it certainly was for owner Richard Petty. Annett, driving the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, ranked fifth at season’s end, boosted by a run of eight consecutive top-10 finishes from Bristol in late August through Kansas in October. The last time owner Richard Petty had a car in the top five in the final points standings for any of the three national series was in 1983, when he drove the #43 to a fourth-place finish in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings.

    Top Team
    Joe Gibbs Racing  JGR fielded a trio of entries during the 2012 season, captured the owner championship for the fourth time and posted nine victories and 28 top-five and 52 top-10 finishes. Four of its drivers  Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Truex and Darrell Wallace Jr.  accounted for nine Coors Light Poles.

    Roush Fenway Racing (Honorable Mention)  With only a single full-time entry  the #6 of champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  Roush Fenway’s presence in the series was below recent seasons. No matter. RFR battled Joe Gibbs Racing to the final race before falling a few points short in the owner standings. Carl Edwards added a victory to Stenhouse’s exploits giving RFR seven wins overall in 2012. Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne combined for five Coors Light Poles.

    Top Breakthrough Performance
    Austin Dillon  Austin Dillon almost accomplished the undoable: win both the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the same season, all following a year in which he became the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ youngest champion. It didn’t quite work out that way, although Dillon’s quest in the #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet went down to the final laps at Homestead. Childress’s grandson settled for rookie honors and a third-place overall ranking. He won both races at Kentucky Speedway and led the series in top-10 finishes with 27.

    Danica Patrick/Cole Whitt (Honorable Mention)  JR Motorsports’ two competitors each enjoyed success in 2012. Both recorded top-10 championship finishes. Patrick’s 10th-place performance marked the first time a female competitor has finished among the overall top 10 in a NASCAR national series. She’ll move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013 after posting four top-10 finishes. Whitt, who finished second in Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, placed seventh overall with four top fives and 14 top 10s. He opened the season with a fourth at Daytona a finish he later matched at Talladega and Michigan.

    Top Races
    Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway (April 27)  The finish was unbelievable. Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin went door-to-door on the final lap with Busch taking the victory by 0.062 seconds. The victory was the first in the series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. The race, which featured 13 lead changes, marked the coming out party for 18-year-old Ryan Blaney, who finished seventh in his first series start.

    Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 17)  You could say they saved the best for last, giving NASCAR Nationwide Series fans plenty on which to chew while awaiting the beginning of the 2013 season. Regan Smith drove his #5 Junior Motorsports Chevrolet to his first victory after a five-year absence from the series. Smith was one of 10 drivers who swapped the lead 13 times  including Kyle Busch, who won the Coors Light Pole and finished second snapping an eight-year run in which he’d won at least one race. All three title contenders  Stenhouse, Sadler and Dillon  also managed to lead a lap during the 300-mile affair.

    Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 at Iowa Speedway (May 20)  Reigning champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the trifecta in the year’s first of two visits to the 0.875-mile short track. Stenhouse swept both Iowa events in 2011 and won for a third consecutive time, ringing up a perfect 150.0 Driver Rating in the process. He may have been statistically dominant but fans saw each of the top six drivers in the standings and all four manufacturers lead a lap. In the end, Stenhouse was out front for 209 of 250 laps and beat Elliott Sadler by 1.465 seconds in a mirror image of the season championship.(NASCAR)(12-5-2012)

  • Crew member reinstated: NASCAR has reinstated crew member Ryan Hess upon his successful completion of NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. Hess had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on Aug. 22, 2012 for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.(NASCAR) Hess was working for MacDonald Motorsports at the time of his suspension.(12-5-2012)
  • Toyota sponsoring spring Richmond races: Buckling up for two days of NASCAR excitement, Toyota and Richmond International Raceway announced multi-year race entitlements, beginning with the April 26-27, 2013 doubleheader weekend at America’s Premier Short Track. The weekend features the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. “This partnership allows us to align with a premium brand that has been supporting NASCAR for nearly a decade,” said RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. “These multi-year entitlements will allow Richmond International Raceway to continue delivering the high-quality events our fans have enjoyed for 60 years. To put on these NASCAR spectacles, we require two core ingredients: the fans and the sponsors  both of which drive our business and allow us to provide top-notch events.” Toyota has a rich history at Richmond International Raceway. The auto manufacturer has seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins (Kyle Busch, four; Denny Hamlin, two; Clint Bowyer, one) and five NASCAR Nationwide Series top finishes (Kyle Busch, two; Denny Hamlin, two; Kurt Busch, one), and has served as the Official Pace Car at RIR.(RIR)(12-4-2012)