June 2012 Nationwide Series News

  • National Rifle Association will sponsor Atlanta Nationwide race: The National Rifle Association, America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group, and its NRA American Warrior magazine, will serve as title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 1, with the event being called the NRA American Warrior 300. The NRA American Warrior magazine is the NRA’s bi-monthly salute to all who serve, from the armed forces to law enforcement to first responders. Fans that visit www.NRA.org/warrior and sign up for a free subscription to the magazine will receive a complimentary ticket to the NRA American Warrior 300.(AMS)(6-30-2012)
  • Discount Tire comments on Villeneuve’s actions at Road America: Discount Tire, proud sponsor of the #22 Dodge Challenger in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series with Penske Racing, issued this statement today regarding the June 23 incident with Jacques Villeneuve and Danica Patrick at Road America. This past weekend during the Sargento 200 at Road America, No. 22 driver Jacques Villeneuve, while battling for position on the last lap of the race, ended up knocking Danica Patrick’s car off track. Villeneuve’s comments regarding the incident during post-race interviews were not reflective of Discount Tire’s sense of true sportsmanship. Discount Tire stated: “Together Penske and Discount Tire have achieved great success in the Nationwide Series, including a championship, and have maintained the highest levels of integrity and sportsmanship throughout that relationship. Although we believe the contact between Villeneuve and Patrick to be unfortunate, it is a part of professional racing. However, Villeneuve’s post-race comments did not reflect our ideals regarding sportsmanship. Having said that, we continue to be very proud of our relationship with the Penske organization.”(Discount Tire PR)(6-27-2012)
  • Sam’s Club sponsoring Stenhouse, Jr. in 3 races: Sam’s Club and its Member’s Mark Angus Beef and Castlewood Reserve brands will serve as the primary sponsor for three races during 2012 Nationwide season for the reigning 2011 NASCAR Nationwide champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his #6 team. Sam’s Club logos will be featured prominently on the #6 Ford Mustang accented with Member’s Mark Angus Beef and Castlewood Reserve logos starting this weekend at Kentucky Speedway for the Feed the Children 300. The remaining two races of the sponsorship are slated for Indianapolis (July 28) and Kansas (October 20).(Roush Fenway)(6-27-2012)

  • Scott Wimmer working on return to Nationwide Series: Scott Wimmer is close to finalizing a deal that would put him back in the Nationwide Series beginning later this year in Richmond. The deal would then include a full-time ride for next season. Wimmer hasn’t raced a full season since 2009. He’ll be joining a brand new team and thinks this deal gives him a shot to be very competitive every single week.(WAOW)(6-27-2012)
  • ESPN closes Tech Garage: Since 2007, younger NASCAR fans know Tim Brewer & stationed inside the ESPN Tech Garage at both Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races carried by the network. ESPN made a larger commitment of resources to the Nationwide Series telecasts than any network before. That included Brewer’s mobile garage and a full infield studio of three on-air personalities. ESPN & has confirmed that Brewer’s recent hiatus from the Nationwide Series coverage will be permanent. ESPN returns to Sprint Cup Series coverage in July with the Brickyard 400. The Tech Garage will also not be part of that coverage. This year the final seventeen Cup Series races will be without Brewer on TV. “It has been a great feature of our NASCAR coverage,” said a network spokesman. “We will continue to look for places to showcase the garage where appropriate.” That means that while ESPN did not sell the Tech Garage, the unit is parked. Unfortunately this also affects more ESPN team members than just Brewer. In addition to the camera crew inside the studio, the Tech Garage also had “runners” who grabbed damaged pieces of cars during the race and brought them back for Brewer to explain.(Daly Planet)(6-27-2012)
  • Road America TV Ratings: ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Saturday, June 23, earned a 1.6 household coverage rating (1.4 U.S. rating), averaging 1,924,648 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating grew 33 percent from last year’s race, which earned a 1.2 rating, and continued the ratings growth that the event has seen since the 1.1 for the inaugural race in 2010.(ESPN)(6-26-2012)
  • Keen Parts sponsoring ML Motorsports at Kentucky: ML Motorsports announced a four-race partnership with Keen Parts, a supplier of Corvette restoration parts and accessories. Keen Parts will serve as primary sponsor of the #70 Chevy with driver Johanna Long at Kentucky Speedway on June 29, 2012. This partnership will mark Keen Part’s second year sponsoring the #70 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Keen Parts will be the primary sponsor at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Richmond International Raceway and Kentucky Speedway in September.(ML Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #70 team paint schemes page.(6-26-2012)
  • Stenhouse will replace Kenseth at Roush: Roush Fenway Racing announced that 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will compete for the team full-time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning in 2013, while Matt Kenseth and Roush Fenway will part ways at the conclusion of the 2012 season. “Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has more than proved his abilities on the race track,” said team co-owner Jack Roush. “We feel that he is not only a key piece of our team’s future, but a key piece of the future of the sport. Roush Fenway is an organization with a wonderful past and present, as well as an extremely promising future, and I can’t think of a better candidate than Ricky to usher in the next era of success for the team. Of course, I’d like to thank Matt Kenseth for his many years of loyal service,” added Roush. “Matt has been an integral part of this organization for well over a decade, and we are extremely appreciative of his accomplishments and contributions to the team, and will always consider him a part of the Roush Fenway family.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(6-26-2012)
  • Shepherd gets Kentucky sponsor: A+ Building Services will be the “title” sponsor on both the upper sides of Morgan Shepherd’s #89 car this Friday night, June 29th during the “Feed The Children 300” at Kentucky Speedway. A+ Building Services is a janitorial company headquartered in Portsmouth, Ohio and specializing in window cleaning and power pressure washing. A+ Building Services is a preferred vendor for companies such as Kroger and Nest International covering seven states and is a family ran business dating back to 1964.(Shepherd PR)(6-25-2012)
  • Roderick returns to the #24: Casey Roderick has signed on for an additional two races with SR� Motorsports. He will take the field Saturday June 23, 2012 at Road America and July 6, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway, piloting SR� Motorsports No.24 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. SR� Motorsports will have the baseball themed Chevy take the field again with Casey behind the wheel. The West Virginia Miners has become a big supporter of Casey Roderick and SR� Motorsports. In addition to the West Virginia Miners, SR� Motorsports has “NO MORE” on the lower quarter panels to show their support to end domestic violence and sexual assault.(SR� Motorsports)(6-22-2012)
  • Prietzel driving for R3 at Road America: R3 Motorsports has named 59-year-old Bill Prietzel driver of the #23 Chevy in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sargento 200 at Road America, Saturday June 23rd. The #23 has been piloted by Robert Richardson Jr. this season and is currently 30th in the owner standings. Bill Prietzel “The Franklin Flyer” is an old school racer from the land of Matt Kenseth. He has been racing at the short tracks of Wisconsin from the early 1970s. He earned a Sportsman Division Championship in 1977. Bill has had some success racing in the Mid American Stock Car Series where he won championships in 2000, 2003 and 2005. Bill currently is fifth in points. He has also had some success racing in the Trans Am America’s Road Racing Series with a second place finish last year at Sebring. He has also won at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course and Road America with an ASA car.(Rant Sports)(6-22-2012)
  • Hill to run Grand Am race at Road America: Timmy Hill will be pulling double duty this weekend, racing in two events in one day at Road America (WI). On Saturday, June 23rd, prior to racing the Rick Ware Racing #41 Poynt Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Hill will get behind the wheel of the #15 Poynt/Fastwax.com Ford Mustang in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. “I am extremely excited and proud to be driving in the GRAND-AM race this weekend along with the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Hill. “I have to give the biggest thank you to RWR, the entire Ware family, Poynt, and Fastwax.com for giving me this awesome opportunity this weekend. This is my first time driving in two major races in one weekend, and to race them at a track that I have success at makes it that much better.”(Hill PR)(6-21-2012)
  • VooDoo ride on the #88 at Road America: Cole Whitt’s #88 Chevy features the VooDoo Ride paint scheme this weekend at Road America. The black scheme showcases VooDoo Ride’s chilling skull logo on its hood and quarter panels. VooDoo Ride is a car care and lifestyle company co-founded by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2007. Visit its website at www.voodooride.com to see its vast array of car care products.(JR Motorsports)(6-21-2012)

  • NASCAR announces Nationwide and Truck awards banquet: NASCAR announced the date and location for its 2012 postseason championship celebrations for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The combined NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards will return to South Florida for 2012 and be held at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, located in the heart of South Beach. The event is scheduled for Monday, November 19, following the Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Similar to past award shows, this year’s event will honor the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions, as determined during the Homestead-Miami Speedway race weekend, November 16-18. “Celebrating the champions of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in Miami Beach enables us to continue the wave of excitement out of championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “The backdrop makes for an ideal location to honor those champions  and their teams and sponsors  after their great seasons.”(NASCAR)(6-20-2012)
  • McClure cleared to return: After spending the last six weeks sidelined due to injuries received during a late-race accident at Talladega Superspeedway on May 5, Eric McClure has been medically cleared to return to the seat of his Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry. While sidelined, teammate Jeff Green piloted the #14 Camry and has earned three top-20 finishes.(TMI)(6-20-2012)
  • Hauler parade to Road America Thursday: On Thursday, June 21, NASCAR Nationwide Series team haulers will gather at Times Printing Company in Random Lake, Wisconsin prior to their convoy to Road America for the Sargento 200 Presented by Menards. Last year’s hauler parade drew hundreds of NASCAR fans and an impressive welcome was also extended between residents of Random Lake and Elkhart Lake Wisconsin, as fans lined the route to cheer and wave hello to the passing convoy. The haulers will gather for the party at Times Printing Company in Random Lake between 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Fans are invited to attend, free of charge. The Random Lake Fire Department will hold a brat fry fundraiser featuring Johnsonville brats on-site in conjunction with the party and the event will be held rain or shine. The convoy to the track will depart around 5:30 p.m. following Hwy 57 north. After turning west on County Road J, the convoy will proceed north on Hwy 67 to Road America.(Road America PR)(6-20-2012)
  • Alex Kennedy driving for Nemechek at Road America: Alex Kennedy has teamed up with NEMCO Motorsports and Sacred Power Motorsports for select races this season including the Sargento 200 at Road America this weekend. Alex made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Road America in 2010 and posted the 15th fastest time in his first Nationwide Series qualifying effort. His career best finish of 16th came later that year at Watkins Glen. A unique partnership has been assembled to take Alex’s career to the next level in 2012. Nemco Motorsports owned by NASCAR veteran Joe Nemechek will field Alex’s car in partnership with Sacred Power Motorsports, a Native American owned company based in Alex’s home state of New Mexico. Global Barter Corp and Database Dynamics will be featured on the Nemco Motorsports and Sacred Power Motorsports #87 this weekend at Road America and additional marketing partners are being sought to extend this campaign for more Nationwide races.(NEMCO)(6-20-2012)

  • Gonzalez in the #99 for RAB Racing at Road America: Victor Gonzalez Jr. will make his debut for RAB Racing with Brack Maggard this weekend, driving the Delta Commercial/IMCA Toyota Camry in Saturday’s Sargento 200 at Road America. Gonzalez will make his second start at Road America and first start of the 2012 Nationwide Series season behind the wheel of the #99 Toyota Camry. Gonzalez made NASCAR history by becoming the first driver from Puerto Rico to compete in the Nationwide Series when he made his debut in the 2009 running of the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The 36-year-old driver made four additional starts in NASCAR’s junior division in 2010, including his first oval race at Phoenix International Raceway.(RAB Racing PR)(6-19-2012)

  • Matt Bell to make NASCAR debut at Road America: Matt Bell, a regular and winning driver on the Grand Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, will make his NASCAR debut this weekend driving the #4 Extreme Bidder Chevrolet for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc. Bell, a native of San Francisco, Calif., won last year’s companion event at Road America driving a Chevrolet Camaro. He began his professional racing career in 2008 and has gone on to capture four victories in CTSCCS competition. Bell will have his hands full, driving in both the Continental Tire Series and NASCAR Nationwide races this weekend at Road America.(JD Motorsports PR)(6-19-2012)

  • Paludo making series debut with new partner on board: Brazilian driver Miguel Paludo will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend at Road America when he gets behind the wheel of the #32 Duroline Brakes and Components Chevrolet Impala. Paludo, who is in his third year racing in NASCAR, (his second full-time season) has made 36 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The #32 team welcomes aboard Locaweb, which will grace the deck lid and TV panel of the Duroline Brakes and Components machine. Locaweb is the leader in Hosting in Brazil and Latin America, and with 13 years of experience and partnerships with over 16,000 developers, they offer solutions designed to facilitate clients’ online business.(Turner Motorsports PR)(6-19-2012)

  • Michigan TV Ratings: ABC’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, June 16, earned a 1.6 rating, averaging 2,241,541 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up from the 1.5 earned for last year’s event.(ESPN)(6-19-2012)
  • Koch driving for MacDonald at Daytona: Blake Koch will once again be behind the wheel of a MacDonald Motorsports car, this time being the SilverSaver #82 in the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6th. In 2011, Blake ran the entire season with MacDonald Motorsports finishing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year battle by one point. “I’m so pumped to be racing at Daytona next month in the SilverSaver #82 Dodge for MacDonald Motorsports,” said Koch. “It’s a really special track for me being born right next door at Halifax Hospital and I will probably have a lot of family and friends cheering me on at the track. It’s great to have SilverSaver on board for the race as well. They are the ones making it possible for me to race and I couldn’t be more thankful for their support.” Silver Saver provides a safe, disciplined way for any level of investor to add physical precious metals to their savings and investments plan.(MacDonald Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #82 team paint schemes page.(6-19-2012)

  • Charter joins RCR’s #2 Nationwide team plus more: Richard Childress Racing’s affiliation with Charter will take center stage this weekend as the St. Louis, Mo.-based company becomes the primary sponsor on the #2 Chevrolet at Road America in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on June 23 with driver Elliott Sadler. Charter, the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States and a leading broadband communications company, will also adorn several RCR entries throughout the 2012 season, including the #-29 and #-31 Sprint Cup Series Chevrolets, the #2 and #3 Nationwide Series Chevrolets and the #2 and #22 Chevrolets in the Camping World Truck Series. Sadler, will get behind the wheel of the #2 Charter Chevrolet at the first road course event of the 2012 Nationwide Series season at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Thus far this season, Sadler has earned two wins, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes, placing him as the leader of the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(6-18-2012)

  • Fellows returns to JR Motorsports for three: Accomplished road racer Ron Fellows will return to the seat he’s occupied for the last four years in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as JR Motorsports announced today he will compete in all three road-course races this season in the #5 Chevrolet. Those races include Road America on June 23, Watkins Glen International on Aug. 11, and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 18. Fellows is a former winner for JR Motorsports, prevailing victorious in JRM’s #5 Chevrolet on Aug. 2, 2008, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. In his career he has four Nationwide Series wins, three of which were collected at Watkins Glen. Fellows will race at Road America with sponsorship from AER Manufacturing, as he looks to improve on a runner-up finish in last year’s event. AER, a world leader in engine remanufacturing for the past 60 years, has supported Fellows in the Trans Am Series, NASCAR and the American Le Mans Series since 1990. Canadian Tire, the largest automotive retailer in Canada with more than 480 stores, will sponsor Fellows at Watkins Glen and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Both companies are returning for their third year of partnership with JR Motorsport. Fellows will be paired with veteran crew chief Tony Eury Sr. The duo found success in 2010, racing to one top-five and two top-10 finishes in three races. A native of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Fellows has scored top-10 finishes in six of nine career races with JRM. He led seven laps en route to a 2008 win in Montreal. To go with his four career victories, Fellows has nine top-fives, 12 top-10s and two poles.(JR Motorsports PR)(6-18-2012)

  • DRIVE4COPD renews title sponsorship at Daytona: The COPD Foundation’s DRIVE4COPD national public health initiative announced today that it has renewed its title sponsorship for the DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway through 2014. “Since 2010, DRIVE4COPD has joined efforts with the NASCAR Nationwide Series race during Budweiser Speedweeks to raise national awareness about COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “DRIVE4COPD has been an outstanding partner. It has increased awareness, and promoted early detection of the disease that kills one out of four Americans. This is a cause we fully support and I look forward to continuing this relationship for years to come.”(Daytona International Speedway PR)(6-18-2012)
  • Kurt Busch has heated exchange with reporter: #51-Kurt Busch’s troubles with the media continued on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Busch had a brief, heated exchange with ESPN reporter Marty Smith after Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at MIS, a week after serving a one-week suspension for making threatening comments to Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass after the Dover Nationwide Series race. Busch, on orders from Sprint Cup team owner James Finch, avoided talking to reporters upon arriving at MIS on Thursday. But when he finished third in the race won by Joey Logano on Saturday, he had to make a mandatory appearance in the media center. As he waited to be interviewed, an MRN Radio pit reporter said on the live broadcast that Busch left the top-five area without interviewing. Busch was told of the comment and replied, “That’s what everybody says, don’t they.” Busch then left the room to cool off. Several reporters, including Smith, with a camera crew, followed. Busch then told Smith to come over with his camera. When Smith got there, Busch said he wasn’t doing interviews there, adding, “You ever hear of sarcasm?” That led to a brief exchange during which Busch said, “You don’t know how long I’ve been working on this.”(see full post at ESPN.com)(6-17-2012)
  • MAKE Motorsports enters Michigan with new partners and special honor: MAKE Motorsports and TJ Bell head to Michigan International Speedway after a weekend off of racing but certainly not time off of preparing for the upcoming races. The team has added new partners along with preparing a special honor. The #50 MAKE Motorsports Chevy will be sporting a new partner for this weekend’s Alliance Truck Parts 250. Hantz Bank will be displayed on the hood and Television Panel of the #50 Chevrolet. Hantz Bank is a based out of Davison, Michigan a part of the Hantz Group. Basketpong, who was on the #50 MAKE Chevrolet at Dover has also signed a multi-race program as an associate partner with the team. They will also be participating in the fan zone area this weekend at MIS. Basketpong will be sported on the lower quarter panels of the car. Gulfcoast Loss Prevention will also be back as a major partner for this weekend’s events with their partner Forward Corporation. Continuing with associate sponsorship is Apex Contracting and Beaver Bail Bonds. The MAKE Motorsports #50 and TJ Bell will be carrying a special honor on the car for victims of the recent shooting near the campus of Auburn University. The car will be sporting an orange ribbon on the roof beside TJ’s name in honor of the victims and the entire Auburn University Community.(MAKE Motorsports)(-2012)
  • Kenny Wallace returns to the #99: Kenny Wallace will pilot RAB Racing with Brack Maggard chassis #42 in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Family Farmers returns this week as primary sponsor of the #99 Toyota Camry. Family Farmers is a multi-state coalition of farmers and agribusiness headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois. Participants in the Family Farmer coalition to date include the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB), the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC).(RAB Racing)(6-13-2012)
  • Kick Start America featured on the #7: #7-Danica Patrick’s familiar Go Daddy Chevy will feature a special hood decal this weekend at Michigan to drive awareness around Kick Start America, a website dedicated to helping small businesses conquer the internet by offering .US addresses. To learn more visit KickStartAmerica.US.(JR Motorsports)(6-13-2012)
  • Amway sponsoring Buescher at Michigan: Turner Motorsports announced that Amway North America has signed on to sponsor James Buescher and the #30 car in this weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Michigan. Amway and its Independent Business Owners will be cheering on the #30 car this Saturday as Buescher races toward a win.(Turner Motorsports)(6-12-2012)
  • McDowell returns to the #20: Michael McDowell will be back behind the wheel of the Pizza Ranch Toyota Camry this week in Michigan International Speedway’s 125 lap Nationwide Series event. Midwest-based sponsor Pizza Ranch will be onboard the #20 car for their second of four races with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2012. In his first Nationwide Series start of the season, McDowell drove the Pizza Ranch Toyota to an impressive third-place finish at Iowa Speedway, but he’s still got his sights set on victory lane. The 27-year-old driver is also slated to pilot the Pizza Ranch Toyota at Road America on June 23 and at Iowa Speedway on August 4.(JGR)(6-12-2012)

  • McClure not cleared for Michigan: Eric McClure is once again sidelined for this weekend’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Although disappointed, there is increased optimism he will get back in his Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Camry soon. In the meantime, 2000 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Jeff Green will make his fifth consecutive start in the #14 Camry.(TMI)(6-11-2012)
  • Jamie Dick returns to the #23: Recent college graduate Jamie Dick and Viva Motorsports will hit the newly paved track in Michigan this weekend. The off weekend worked out well for Jamie as he received his Masters degree in business administration from the University of Denver. Now Jamie will turn his full attention to the #23 Nationwide team and be “able to focus 100% -all day-everyday” to the racing program. “I am very excited to continue the growth as a driver and a team moving forward” says Dick.(Corrie Stott Racing)(6-11-2012)

  • Johnny Davis adds partner: Johnny Davis, owner of JD Motorsports #01 and #4 Chevys in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has taken on Ohio businessman and former NASCAR team owner, Gary Keller, as a partner for his operation. The team will now officially be called JD Motorsports with Gary Keller. The move is one where both parties quickly agreed on the same thing  they want to improve the results and take it to the next level in competition. Davis, who has solely-owned the team since 2002, and Keller, who has owned an ARCA, NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series team since 2001, have joined forces. Davis will oversee the team on a day-to-day basis at his shop, and Keller will concentrate on marketing and sponsorships for the team from Ohio. Their business arrangement takes effect immediately.(JD Motorsports)(6-7-2012)

  • Victor Gonzales driving for RAB at Road America: RAB Racing with Brack Maggard and driver Victor Gonzales, Jr., announced a partnership with Delta Commercial and IMCA for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Sargento 200 on June 23 at Road America. Gonzalez Jr., the first Puerto Rican driver to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished 14th in his debut in the 2009 running of the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. The 36-year-old driver will make his second start at Road America behind the wheel of the #99 Delta Commercial/IMCA Toyota Camry. “This is a great opportunity for me to race with a team like RAB Racing and have support from Toyota,” said Gonzalez Jr. “Myself and Robby (Benton, team owner) have been working hard to put a deal together, and we were finally able to do that thanks to the support of Delta Commercial and IMCA. It’s a great feeling when you know you’ve got a chance to race with strong equipment and people.”(RAB Racing)(6-7-2012)
  • Danica to be playable character in Sega Racing Game; special scheme at Texas: SEGA of America Inc. announced that Danica Patrick will be appearing alongside Sonic the Hedgehog in “Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed”, the new racing game where players speed across land, air and water in fully transforming vehicles. Known for her talents behind the wheel, Danica will be a playable character with customized vehicles in “Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed”. Gamers will get the chance to test their racing abilities as Danica against an All-Star cast of SEGA characters including Sonic, Knuckles, AiAi and others. To further enhance this partnership, Danica will be racing in a custom #7 Sonic the Hedgehog Chevy, fielded by JR Motorsports, during the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Texas Motor Speedway. The race, part of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, marks Sonic the Hedgehog’s NASCAR debut.(Sega)(6-6-2012)
  • Dover TV Ratings: ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Saturday, June 2, earned a 1.2 household coverage rating (1.1 U.S. rating), averaging 1,455,858 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was down from a 1.7 for last year’s race, which also aired on ESPN but was run earlier in the year on May 14. Of the 12 NASCAR Nationwide Series races that have aired across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC this season, the Dover race was only the third to see a ratings/viewership decline from last year.(ESPN)(6-6-2012)
  • Stenhouse Jr. presenting Nationwide On Your Side CMT Music Award: #6-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will reveal the winner of the Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award for best new live act during the CMT Awards on June 6, 2012. The Nationwide Insurance On Your Side Award will be given to country music’s best new live act as determined by the fans. Fans watched videos and voted through June 4th at CMT.com for nominees Eli Young Band, Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen and Thompson Square. The 2012 CMT MUSIC AWARDS promises to be a great night of live music with the addition of Lauren Alaina, Casey James, Jana Kramer, Scotty McCreery, Kip Moore and The Farm as performers on the Nationwide Insurance stage. For the fifth year in a row, Nationwide Insurance will be prominently featured throughout the night on a branded performance stage resembling its blue frame logo. The 2012 CMT MUSIC AWARDS will air live on Wednesday, June 6 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT on CMT and CMT.com. (Roush Fenway)(6-5-2012)
  • NASCAR will look at Kurt Busch’s actions after Dover Nationwide race: UPDATE – Suspended from Pocono: #51-Kurt Busch wouldn’t speak with USA TODAY Sports at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, the morning after a video of him berating a reporter went viral. “Why would I want to speak with anyone today?” Busch said as he and girlfriend Patricia Driscoll exited a short chapel service at the track, about 90 minutes before the scheduled start of the FedEx 400. “No comment.” Shortly thereafter, he spent about five minutes meeting with NASCAR President Mike Helton and vice president of competition Robin Pemberton in the Sprint Cup hauler. NASCAR confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that the meeting was called to speak with Busch about his Saturday tirade. Upon exiting, Busch continued to decline comment, and NASCAR wouldn’t offer further details about the meeting but was considering discipline. NASCAR typically doles out punishment on Tuesdays after a race. At issue was Busch’s tirade that was caught on Speed TV cameras with Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass. Busch had been asked about his in-race actions with Justin Allgaier (the two bumped early in the race but there was no retaliation) because of Busch’s recent placement on probation. Busch responded, “It (the probation) refrains me from beating the (expletive) out of your right now, because you ask me stupid questions. But since I’m on probation, I suppose that that’s improper to say as well.” Busch was placed on probation and fined $50,000 following the May 12 Cup race at Darlington Raceway after he did a burnout in rival Ryan Newman’s pit box and then had a confrontation with Newman crewmembers after the race.(USA Today)(6-3-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has suspended driver Kurt Busch until June 13 of this year and extended his NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for his actions following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race June 2 at Dover International Speedway. Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book. Kurt Busch had previously been placed on NASCAR probation May 15 for his actions during the May 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway. That probation was originally scheduled to end July 25 but has now been extended through the end of this year.(NASCAR)(6-4-2012)
    Statement from Busch: “I accept NASCAR’s decision. I put them in a box, they had to take action and it’s my fault for putting them in this position. I apologize for the comments I made to Bob Pockrass.”(True Speed Communications)(6-4-2012)
    UPDATE 2: [#51 car owner James] Finch told ESPN.com he would meet with Busch over the next couple of days to discuss whether they would keep the handshake agreement they made before the season. He didn’t sound like a man convinced the arrangement could or would work. “If he’s going to kill himself, I’m not going to be in the airplane with him,” Finch said by phone. “If that’s what he’s planning on doing, I am going to get out.” Finch made it clear after Busch was released by Penske Racing following a profanity-laced tirade against ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November that if Busch embarrassed him like he did Roger Penske “he would have gotten his ass beat on pit road. He needs to simmer down a while,” Finch told ESPN.com in December. “There are a lot of people that don’t like Kurt. He’s never done anything to me personally. He just needs to look in the mirror and see what the problem is.” Now Busch has done something to Finch personally, even though the incident came while Busch was driving a Kyle Busch Motorsports Nationwide car for his little brother. Finch made it clear there are several qualified drivers to take over Phoenix Racing’s #51 Chevy.(ESPN)(6-4-2012)
  • Charlotte overnight TV Ratings: UPDATE: Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte was on ABC, so the final ratings will not be available until Friday. However, the telecast earned a 1.6 overnight rating, up from last year’s 1.4 overnight. Last year’s Charlotte race had a 1.6 final rating, which was up 23 percent from the previous year’s 1.3.(ESPN)(5-30-2012)
    UPDATE: ABC’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 26, earned a 1.7 national rating, averaging 2,571,551 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up from a 1.6 for the 2011 race and from a 1.3 for the 2010 race.(ESPN)(6-1-2012)