|For the week of January 23 – Volume 9
This week’s News and Views is packed with entries throughout the past week. So we’ll get right to the news without much ado.
For the coming week watch for more news forthcoming from the Media Tour taking place in Charlotte NC this week and announcements from Ward and Jeb Burton on Thursday, January 26th.
Now on to the past week’s news…
TUESDAY, JANUARY 17TH
Engine builders pleased with fuel injection results from Daytona test
There wasn’t much talk about fuel injection during the three-day test last week in Daytona International Speedway. And for NASCAR officials, that’s a good thing. After more than a year of work, they hoped that teams are comfortable with the new system, which will debut in the Daytona 500 and be used throughout the 2012 season. It appeared that for the most part, Sprint Cup teams were comfortable with their base packages during the three-day test.
The test last week also brought to light some fuel injection rules:
· Teams have the option of whether to use an electric or cable fuel pump. The Fords are using a cable while other manufacturers are using electric fuel pumps. NASCAR also recently increased the number of electric lift pumps inside the fuel tank from one to two, making it easier to fuel the car while it is on heavy banking.
· If teams have problems in race conditions, they will not be allowed to plug their computers into the system on pit road. They will have to go to the garage. NASCAR Vice President of Competition, Robin Pemberton said it would be a safety issue to have teams plug into the systems on pit road.
· Teams, as well as NASCAR, will be allowed to tap into the information throughout the race weekend. After each race weekend, NASCAR will distribute information on all teams’ maps.
NASCAR family member (JC France) sued for $18,000 vet bill
A Port Orange, FL veterinary clinic is suing race car driver JC France, grandson of NASCAR’s founder, for an $18,000 vet bill they say is owed, even though France’s dog died. Phantom was a 2-year-old boxer taken to Ravenswood Veterinary Clinic on Clyde Morris Boulevard on August 17, according to court records. The dog had eaten “a shish kabob stick,” France’s lawyer Dave Robinson said. In spite of surgery and other medical care that ran up a bill of nearly $30,000, Phantom died. A member of the France family paid $10,000 with a credit card on August 25, records show. But the Ravenswood clinic and Mark C. Anderson, the veterinarian, claim they are still owed the rest. Last month, James Hattaway, a lawyer from Longwood representing the vet clinic, wrote JC France saying the “appreciated” the partial payment. But, Hattaway added, the clinic wants the rest of what is owed. The five-page complaint was filed in circuit court last week. France’s lawyer, Robinson insists the vet bill is high, especially considering the outcome.
Cambensy takes it to the next level with Level 1 Motorsports for 2012
Level 1 Motorsports is pleased to announce its new driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series, Tucson, AZ’s Cody Cambensy. Level 1 Motorsports will be taking the track in 2012 with their newly developed team. He has one prior start in the Camping World Truck series. Level 1 Motorsports is owned and operated by James Martin and Jim Blankenbaker. Between the both of them they bring over 40 years of racing experience and have been a mainstay in NASCAR racing for quite some time. Cambensy will be taking the wheel of the #53 truck starting with Martinsville Speedway in March. Level 1 Motorsports plans to run as many races possible with Cody in 2012 to prepare for 2013. Level 1 Motorsports and Cody Cambensy will be working to announce their sponsors, manufacturer and schedule for 2012 in weeks to come.
Texas Motor Speedway creating Fan Council
Texas Motor Speedway will bolster its communication with its guests by creating the speedway’s first fan council and utilizing their feedback and recommendations to enhance future experiences for all patrons at the world-class motorsports facility. The Texas Motor Speedway Fan Council will consist of twenty to thirty fans that will be active in providing constructive feedback with speedway management throughout the upcoming race season. The fan council will be comprised of a diverse group that includes PSL holders, individual ticket purchasers, suite holders, campers, etc. ranging from the veteran fan to the novice. An online application will be available on Texas Motor Speedway website for fans interested in being a candidate for the TMS Fan Council. Fans also can print and mail the application to the speedway and should be mailed no later than February 6, 2012 to ensure arrival by the February 10th deadline. Selections will be made February 15thand members will be notified no later than February 17th. Fan Council members for 2012 will serve a term from February 17 – November 15, 2012. Once the term expires, new members will be chosen for the following season.
Key Motorsports announces some 2012 plans
The Motorsports Group announced the availability of several positions as the team prepares for the rapidly approaching NASCAR Nationwide series season. The four-car operation will race in all thirty-three scheduled events with drivers Josh Wise, Chase Miller, Erik Darnell and Scott Speed piloting Chevy Impalas. Veteran NASCAR crew chief Gary Showalter is overseeing day-to-day activities of the organization and is seeking qualified mechanics, fabricators and truck drivers who are ready to start work immediately. Showalter says the company will hire at least ten additional people during the next few days.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18TH
Bruton Smith Honored at 2012 NC Motorsports Industry Awards
Bruton Smith, founder and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., was honored Monday evening with the 2012 Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award from the North Carolina Motorsports Association. The honor was given to Smith before a large crowd of motorsports industry professionals at the 6th Annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Senn Dunn Insurance at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Concord. Smith joins previous Tribute Award recipients, Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Junior Johnson. David Pools, longtime Charlotte Observer motorsports writer, was honored (posthumously) with the Media Recognition Award. The award was accepted by Poole’s widow Katy (Poole) and Mike Persinger, Executive Sports Editor for the Charlotte Observer.
In addition, seven industry companies were awarded for their 2011 accomplishments and positive impacts to the Motorsports Industry:
Bruton Smith, Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award, David Poole, Media Recognition Award, G-Force, Racing Gear, Industrial Hard Carbon, JRi Shocks, Lake Norman Elementary School Pit Crew, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Racing Electronics, Richmond County Tourism Authority
Sports Clips to sponsor Hamlin at Darlington
Sports Clips Haircuts will sponsor a total of eight races during the 2012 NASCAR season, including the Sprint Cup series race in Darlington with the #11 Sports Clips Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin nd seven additional Nationwide series races. This is the fourth year Sports Clips has been a sponsor with JGR and the eight total races (seven Nationwide and one Cup) is the most the organization has ever sponsored in a single season. In addition to the Darlington Sprint Cup series race, Sports Clips will appear on JGR’s #18 and #20 Nationwide series Toyota a total of seven times in 2012 with drivers Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
NASCAR Chief Breaks some News in B&C Cover Story
NASCAR CEO Brian France recently sat down for an interview with Broadcasing & Cablethat covered a variety of subjects:
You say you’re pretty aggressive about what your TV partners need to do for NASCAR. What do you want from them?
We are always the sport that is under-covered given the ratings and size of the events. In particular, ESPN, they just have so many platforms. So we are pushing real hard with them to have a more integrated approach. We have hired people to service them better, so we can help them accomplish that. They have the most assets to be deployed; it doesn’t mean everyone else doesn’t have some big ones and good ones. We are going to work to make them a better partner.
Your TV deals are up in 2014, but when do your negotiating windows open with your current partners?
Not for a little while, but we are having conversations, because a lot of our partners have been clear they would prefer to renew. All things being equal, our first hope is that the incumbents to renew…I think (talks) could heat up at any time, that’s my sense. It’s not cold now, we are having conversations, my sense is things will happen sooner rather than later, and sooner than they normally would in a cycle of renewals.
Are you going to change the post-season Chase format?
I think I’d be shot if I changed the format, frankly. We are not going to change the format.
How much does it hurt that Dale Earnhardt Jr., your most marketable driver, doesn’t win races?
It hurts. It hurts. He is trying to win and get his team to have the confidence to not only win one but rip off more. He did improve and made the Chase, he’s a big franchise, he’s the most popular driver in NASCAR, so it would help us if he would win.
Everyone talks about creating superstars, but does your sport need villains?
I think some version of a villain, yeah. I think you need people tha no one cheers for, I think that’s healthy. But there are limits to that. It’s great when there is someone that acts different, has a little bit of bravado, that is typically good.
Patrick, Bayne still among those who don’t have Daytona 500 spot
The big question that continued throughout testing was whether or not Danica Patrick would be locked into the Daytona 500, or Mark Martin, or Trevor Bayne. It likely will be a few weeks before teams know the answer. With Red Bull Racing having closed, there could still be a deal done for the points earned by the #4 car (14th) and the #83 (25th) last year. If those points aren’t used, next in line is the closed TRG Motorsports #71 car. If it does not enter and a deal is not done to use those points, next in line are the Woods Brothers #21 car (Trevor Bayne) and Robby Gordon Motorsports #7 car, which Gordon will drive in the Daytona 500. Among those looking for points are Stewart-Haas Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. There has been speculation that Stewart Haas would put together a deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing, possibly for points from the #36 car (33rd in 2011 owner points) to be transferred to Patrick. But it also could include a partnership where TBR would field a #10 car for David Reutimann in the 26 races in which Patrick doesn’t compete, thus allowing that car to continue to earn owner points all season. MWR attempted to purchase Red Bull for the points and equipment, but that deal fell through. Team co-owner Michael Waltrip said last week no final determination of which two of his three drivers would have the MWR points from 2011, but it is expected those would go to the two drivers competing for the drivers’ championship – #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #15-Clint Bowyer – while #55-Mark Martin would have to get in the race on speed. It appears that Richard Childress Racing will enter a fourth car for the Daytona 500 and use its points from the #33 car last year. That fourth car would only run a handful of races throughout the year, possibly with Austin Dillon for select events although RCR could put in a more experienced driver such as Elliott Sadler or Brian Vickers for the Daytona 500.
Kurt Busch will run for 2012 Cup championship
Despite recent speculation to the contrary, Kurt Busch confirmed Tuesday he will compete for the Sprint Cup championship under the Phoenix Racing banner. Some reports suggested that Busch, 33, was considering racing for the Nationwide series championship rather than the Cup title. Busch will also run a limited Nationwide series schedule for Phoenix Racing in 2012.
Rice name as crew chief for Townley’s truck series team
RAB Racing with Brack Maggard has named Chris Rice as crew chief for John Wes Townley’s #09 Toyota Tundra for the 2012 Camping World Truck series season. Rice, a former race-winning crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide series has experience atop the pit box in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions since 2003. In his most recent stint serving as crew chief for a Camping World Truck series team, Rice garnered one top-five and two top-tens in fifteen starts with driver Shelby Howard in 2008.
Charlotte Season Ticket Package offers Fans unmatched value
Charlotte Motor Speedway is launching its new NASCAR season ticket package for 2012 and fans who attend the NASCAR Preview 2012 presented by Sprint in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, January 21 will have the first opportunity to purchase the new package and learn more about the speedway’s 2012 fan amenities.
Poynt returning to Rick Ware Racing
Poynt.com, one of America’s fastest growing free mobile apps will be returning to RWR for the full 2012 NASCAR Nationwide series. “Poynt came on board the last eight races of the season and we are proud to be part of their growth. They were part of te history with Timmy Hill winning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle. Timmy Hill will also be returning to the series he found breakout success in during the 2011 season. Timmy ran thirty-two races without a crash, all of the time showing impressive speed and a quick learning curve. He is ready to contend for top-fives and soon enough wins. 2012 is going to be a great year for everyone at RWR” stated Rick Ware. RWR will be announcing the remainder of its NASCAR series line up including other drivers and schedules later this week.
Carpentier would consider running Montreal race
Patrick Carpentier’s Nationwide debut at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007 saw him start on pole but finish second to Sprint Cup regula Kevin Harvick. A year later he was runner up again, this time to Mississauga, Ontario’s Ron Fellows. He also tried Sprint Cup in 2008 with Gillett Evernham Motorsports but the team struggled to get into the top-twenty on most days, although Carpentier did take a pole for the team in Loudon, NH. And while he is officially retired, Carpentier wouldn’t rule out racing in Montreal this summer in the August NAPA Auto Parts 200. Should he return to the cockpit for the Nationwide series race, it would be to raise cash for research into neonatal disorders, which has been the beneficiary of his track efforts of late. “Montreal would be the only race I would do and I would give most of the money to children’s charities, St. Justin’s Hospital (Montreal) helped Anais quite a bit when she was young and I want to give back,” said Carpentier, whose daughter was born with a malformed pancreas but now lives a normal life due to the work of her doctors. “If the TV show works out, it will be part of that too. And it looks like it is going to happen, so I will probably race in Montreal, but that would be the only one.”
Gresham to promote Made in USA debuts at Daytona with ARCA & Trucks
NASCAR driver Max Gresham today announced a promotional association with the Made in USA Brand Certification Mark for the 2012 racing season. Gresham who will compete for Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series this season, indicated the association will debut at Daytona International Speedway next month. Developed by Marcie Gabor, President, Made in USA Brand, a principal at Conrad Phillips Butech, a branding and marketing firm located in Columbus, OH, the Made in USA Brand Certification Mark is the only certification mark for identifying goods either made or grown in the United States registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. According to Jim Vutech, principal at Conrad Phillips Vutech, the association with Gresham will provide the Made in USA Brand Certification Mark an opportunity to build awareness of the symbol among millions of patriotic businesses and fans that support American motorsports. Race fans interested in pledging, along with Max, to purchase made in USA manufactured goods, can log on to Pledge for USA. Gresham will open his 2012 racing season when he wheels the #9 Made in USA Brand Chevrolet in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 18. The event will tke the green flag at 4:30 pm ET and will be shown live on SPEED. Gresham will then turn his sights to the NASCAR Camping World Truck series where he will pilot the #24 Made in the USA Brand/Joe Denette Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado in a 250-mile test at Daytona.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 19TH
Bayne, Wood Brothers plan less than 20 races for 2012
Just as it was a year ago, Bayne’s Cup outlook consists of fewer than twenty scheduled starts with a tem that continues to refuse to extend itself without the proper funding, choosing quality rather than quantity when it comes to opportunities at the race track. The 2011 Daytona 500 victory opened doors – Bayne and the team eventually made a total of seventeen starts las year – but success didn’t follow. While he qualified well on the big tracks, Bayne scored no more top-tens and finished only one other race, at Talladega, in the top-fifteen. A member of the Roush Fenway Racing stable, where he competed for the Nationwide series title in 2011, Bayne closed the year uncertain of his future as sponsorship concerns muddied the racing waters for the Roush Fenway program and left his status for 2012 questionable.
Bristol Fan Advisory Board accepting new member applications
Bristol Motor Speedway, the first NASCAR Sprint Cup series sanctioned facility to institute an advisory group made up of fans, now is taking applications for its Fan Advisory Board. Formed in 2006, Bristol’s Fan Advisory Board is a group of loyal fans who provide feedback and new ideas that aid in the growth and development of the Speedway, and its ability to exceed expectations by delivering the ultimate fan experience. Fans may apply online through Tuesday, January 31, 2012. Via online communication and annual meetings, the Fan Advisory Board targets visible issues, identifies challenges and presents ideas to enhance and better the “Bristol Experience.” The board is comprised of thirty-forty members, consisting of a demographic cross-section of fans. Correspondence and meetings include Bristol senior level management to ensure action items are fulfilled and executed in the vision of the board. Board members serve a “rotational” term that includes three NASCAR race weekends at Bristol Motor Speedway. After serving for three NASCAR race weekends, members rotate off, and new members are appointed.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 20TH
Turn One Racing to field Cup team
Turn One Racing announced they will field a Sprint Cup series car in 2012, starting with the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 4th. The team is building on the experience earned over the last three years of competition in the Camping World Truck series, where the team earned a ninth place finish in the 2011 standings with driver Cole Whitt. “This is a great opportunity for Turn One Racing,” said team owner, Stacy Compton. “It has always been our objective to grow the team and this is just the next step in that plan. We have a great group of partners behind us and feel like we are talking all the right steps to build a very competitive Sprint Cup team.” Compton’s team has purchased cars from Richard Childress Racing and plans are in the works to race eight to ten events in their freshman year. The team will attempt the remaining races, excluding the 200-lap Daytona 500. “We have partnered with one of our long-time supporters to run a handful of races this year. We’re also working on additional sponsorship that would enable us to run more races thoughout the year.”
On January 21st, Compton confirmed that he has formed an alliance with Richard Childress Racing that could result in a minimum eight-race schedule. “I know we’re going to run Kentucky,” Compton said. “We’re going to run Indianapolis for sure at this point. And we’ve got our eye on Texas as well.” Compton has been in communication with RCR general manager Mike Dillon in his efforts to create a Cup program, with the idea of starting small and growing as sponsorship money becomes available. Compton’s goal at this point is to concentrate on short tracks – namely Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond and Dover. Compton said at least one sponsor is on board with the project, but he declined to identify it at this point. “It’s a partner that we’ve had in the past and has supported me for many years,” Compton said. “They want to make sure they get their ducks in a row first before we make any announcements on it.” If more sponsorship can be obtained – and Compton indicted there were talks under way – the team could run as many as fifteen races. So who will be behind the wheel? Compton said that’s still to be determined.
McDowell to announce 2012 plans soon
Announced January 10th, Michael McDowell plans to moonlight in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The current entry list includes, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger in Daytona Prototypes and Michael Waltrip in a GT-class Ferrari.
McDowell says he’ll be back in the #18 car in 2012 for five Nationwide races with plans for him to race at Road America, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Iowa twice. On the Sprint Cup side, McDowell says he’ll be back full-time with Phil Parsons Racing (formerly HP Racing). He isn’t sure what number he’ll have this year, but he does know that they are making change to Ford this coming season, powered by Roush-Yates engines. And they have found enough sponsorship to race the first five races of the season, rather than resorting to a start and park situation.
According to the #46 Whitney Motorsports facebook page on January 21st , “Whitney Motorsports has joined forces with Phil Parsons Racing to field a Sprint Cup car for Michael McDowell, we are remaining with Ford and are hoping for a great season and some sponsorship to join us here in 2012.
Go Green Racing Signs Paul and Tim Andrews in forming a Cup Team
Go Green Racing announced the addition of Paul and Tim Andrews to an already impressive list of talented crew members to Go Green Racing for the 2012 NASCAR season. Paul Andrews, a former NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion crew chief will lead the #19 Go Green Racing Ford Fusion in the Cup series beginning at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 16th. Bristol Motor Speedway will also mark the first Sprint Cup series attempt for Tim Andrews. Following Bristol, the team expects to compete in an additional ten NSCS races. Tim Andrews is also scheduled to compete in select Nationwide series races as driver of the #37 Go Green Racing Ford Mustang. Calling the shots as crew chief on the #37 will be Dave Ingram. Ingram joins Go Green Racing after serving as crew chief for MacDonald Motorsports last season. Go Green Racing has purchased their NSCS cars from Roush Fenway Racing and will run the Roush/Yates FR9 motor at all 2012 Cup races.
Danica informed Andretti she was leaving IndyCar a year ago
Andretti Autosport was far more prepared for the exodus of driver Danica Patrick than most anyone expected. At a pre-season IndyCar test at Sebring International Raceway on Tuesday, team owner Michael Andretti said Patrick, as required by the terms of her final contract with his team, informed him early last year that she would not return. “January of ’11 she had to let us know what she was doing for ’12,” Andretti said. “We purposely put it in the contract so in case she decided to leave, we had time. I’m glad we did that.” Ptrick signed a two-year deal with Andretti Autosport in 2009. It contained a mutual option for 2012. She asserted throughout the summer, with cover from Andretti, that her business team was exploring “all options,” including returning to Andretti and IndyCar.
Carmichael, “Rug Pulled Out from Under” in KBM/Monster Energy deal
Multi-time AMA Motocross and supercross champion-turned NASCAR driver Ricky Carmichael says he is uncertain of his plans for 2012, after sponsor Monster Energy elected to back brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch in a new Nationwide series effort. In an exclusive interview on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s SiriusXM Speedway with Dave Moody, Carmichael said he initially was assured the Monster Energy sponsorship would remain with him in 2012, and the twenty Nationwide series races announced for Kurt Busch were suppose to be his. “I had a handshake with the CEO of Monster Energy,” revealed Carmichael. “But the weekend of Texas (Motor Speedway), it went away. We were good to go, but when Kyle had his issue (at Texas), it all went sideways.” Carmichael said he believes his shot at retaining the Monster Energy sponsorship disappeared for good when Kurt Busch parted company with Penske Racing after the conclusion of the 2011 campaign. Gradually, Carmichael said he realized KBM was not the right place for him. Carmichael said he feared his image would suffer from signing with Busch, adding, “I had a feeling that if I went there, I would lose fans. I was afraid people would say, ‘I used to like Ricky Carmichael, but now I don’t because he races for Kyle.’ I felt it wasn’t right for me. I need everything to be positive, and nothing negative. “I have no disrespect for Kyle Busch,” insisted Carmichael. “He’s a heck of a driver and he’s going to win a lot of races. I haven’t really come close to winning in NASCAR, so I’ve got no leg to stand on. I can’t complain about the decision. (Kyle and I) just have a different way of racing.” Carmichael said he maintains a friendly relationship with Monster Energy, and could continue with them in some capacity this season. “I have no issues with Monster whatsoever,” he said. “I’ll be part of their family forever. I feel like I played a huge (role) in bringing Monster to NASCAR in the first place. They gave me the money and said, ‘Go find your best NASCAR deal.’ We won two or three Supercross titles together, and two or three outdoor championships. They gave me some awesome opportunities over the years. I have nothing bad to say about them, they’ve been behind me 100% and always will be.” The former supercross champion said while he is trying to assemble a limited schedule of NASCAR racing for this season, his involvement will be “somewhat limited. It’s tough when you get the rug pulled out from under you in late December,” he said. “There’s not much to fall back on. It’s going to take some time to get things nailed down again, but hopefully, we can come back in 2013 and do it right. “Things happen for a reason,” said Carmichael. “Hopefully, this will open up some other avenues for me.”
Las Vegas race date changed
This year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 29. The event was originally set for October 13. The date change was made due to the cancellation of the IndyCar event scheduled for October 14. “Running the race on October 13 would have necessitated a daytime event in order not to go head-to-head with the Saturday-night Sprint Cup race in Charlotte on the same day,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “The date switch allows us to run the event under the lights, and that allows more people to attend the race. We appreciate NASCAR’s working with us to make this change.” The start time for the September 29 event is to be determined, but the event will run in the evening hours. The date change also returns the event to its more traditional late September slot on the series schedule.
Darlington and California security teams receive award
One of the top priorities for Darlington Raceway each year is to make sure its race fans, competitors, media and others attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Southern 500 race weekend every May have a safe and enjoyable experience when they visit the track “Too Tough to Tame.” That priority did not go unnoticed by NASCAR as Darlington Raceway and its security director Mike Richardson, were honored by receiving the sanctioning bodies “Excellence in Service Award” for its top notch security efforts for the 2011 season. Darlington was one of two tracks to accept NASCAR’s highest honor for its security efforts along with Auto Club Speedway in California
SATURDAY, JANUARY 21ST
NASCAR welcomes 2012 Hall of Fame members
During an emotional induction ceremony Friday night at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a pair of three-time champion drivers, racing’s quintessential crew chief, a founding father of the sport and the hands-down best modified driver who ever lived all took their rightful places among NASCAR’s elite. The third class of five NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees evidences no fall-off in quality from the two classes that preceded it in 2010 and 2011. In fact, some would argue that the 2012 inductees all boast credentials worthy of consideration for an earlier welcome to the Hall.
Darrell Waltrip, for instance won three Sprint Cup titles and is tied for fourth on the career win list with eighty-four victories.
Cale Yarborough, the only driver to win three straight Cup titles before Jimmie Johnson equaled and then eclipsed the feat in the first decade of the 21st century, is sixth in all-time wins with eighty-three. As far as championships are concerned, Dale Inman is the most prolific winner among NASCAR crew chiefs, having accumulated seven Cup titles during his pioneering run at Petty Enterprises and a series-record eighth with driver Terry Labonte and owner Billy Hagan in 1984.
Glen Wood, who with brother Leonard Wood founded the most enduring team in the sport’s history, was an innovator who nurtured the careers of a litany of elite drivers, most notable among them Hall of Famers Yarborough and David Pearson.
Richie Evans, a nine-time modified champion, simply was without peer. The “Rapid Roman” clinched his first NASCAR National Modified title in 1973. On October 24, 1985, a week after securing his ninth modified championship, Evans was killed in a crash during practice at Martinsville Speedway. He was 44.
From NASCAR Wire Service
Army Veteran to Star in Sprint All-Star Race Commerical
For former drill sergeant and United States Army all-star, Derek Heavener, of Huntington, W.VA, the dream of being a NASCAR All-Star has come true thanks to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Heavener, who wrote an essay detailing why he should be considered for the “Be an All-Star” Facebook contest, was selected as the grand-prize winner from more than 500 entries. “I’ve served my country honorably in the United States Army for nineteen years. I’ve been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo and have stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest all-stars of our time; the American soldier,” wrote Heavener. Heavener won two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 19, pre-race pit passes, VIP parking for the race and a role in CMS’s 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race commercial. He will join NASCAR stars Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Junior Johnson and the 2011 NASCAR Sprint All-Star race winner Carl Edwards on the set for a behind-the-scenes look at one of NASCAR’s most creative commercials, shot in a replica Wild West town. 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Tony Stewart, SPEED TV personality Jeff Hammond and NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip also will star in the commercial.
Pollen promoted to Director of Marketing at Infineon Raceway
Rachael Pollen has been promoted to Director of Marketing at Infineon Raceway, raceway officials announced. In her new role, Pollen will help oversee the planning and execution of all marketing initiatives at the raceway, including the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup series, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series and IZOD IndyCar series race weekend. Pollen, 31, has been employed at Infineon Raceway since 1999, serving as Senior Manager of Marketing since 2006.
From Infineon Raceway
SUNDAY, JANUARY 22ND
2012 Miss Sprint Cup Lineup Introduced
Thousands of fans met the 2012 Miss Sprint Cup lineup during the NASCAR Preview Presented by Sprint in Charlotte, NC. Sprint announced that returning members Kim Coon, Orlando FL and Jaclyn Roney, Ann Arbor, MI have been joined by newcomer Kristen Beat of El Cajon, CA. Coon, Roney and Beat make up the most geographically balanced Miss Sprint Cup lineup since the program’s inception in 2008, representing the Southeast, Midwest and West Coast. Miss Sprint Cup represents the Sprint brand around the track and in Victory Lane wherever the NASCAR Sprint Cup series competes. The three representatives also serve as fans’ “friend on the inside,” delivering via Facebook and Twitter behind-the-scenes updates, pictures and video, while highlighting Sprint products and offers. Beat adds a Southern California flare to the Miss Sprint Cup lineup. The former Fuel TV on-air talent and extreme sports reporter grew up racing motocross bikes and was a big supporter of her brother’s pursuit of a professional racing career. When she isn’t at the racetrack, Beat enjoys surfing, working out and honing her culinary skills with healthy recipes. After receiving her communications degree from the University of San Diego, Beat pursued her dream of a career in broadcasting, eventually becoming the youngest credentialed reporter in the X-Games history. Coon returns for her second season as Miss Sprint Cup, which makes the former marketing and public relations professional the veteran member of this year’s lineup. Rounding out the 2012 lineup is Roney, who is entering her first full season as Miss Sprint Cup. The Eastern Michigan University grad joined the program in July 2011 as is looking forward to attending her first Daytona 500 next month.
From Sprint PR
American Ethanol to sponsor Austin Dillon in Cup race
In a nod to its commitment to the sport, American Ethanol announced at the NASCAR Preview fan event in Charlotte, NC, that it will continue relationships with Richard Childress Racing and RAB Racing for the 2012 season. Austin Dillon, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck series champion, will drive the iconic #3 Chevy during the 2012 Nationwide series season with American Ethanol serving as the primary sponsor for six races as well as one race in the Sprint Cup series in 2012. Dillon’s #3 American Ethanol Chevy paint scheme was unveiled at the event. In addition to American Ethanol’s partnership with Dillon, the organization will serve as an associate sponsor with the entire RCR family of drivers. Team owner Richard Childress as well as RCR’s Sprint Cup series veterans Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard will also serve as spokesmen for the cause. Kenny Wallace, who notched eleven top-ten finishes last year, will drive the #09 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide series for RAB Racing. American Ethanol will partner with Wallace for the Sprint Cup series Daytona 500, as well as five races in the Nationwide series.
RAB Racing to attempt Sprint Cup debut in Daytona 500 with Kenny Wallace
RAB Racing with Brack Maggard announced they will attempt to make their Sprint Cup series debut in the 54th-annual Daytona 500 on February 26, with driver Kenny Wallace behind the wheel of their #09 American Ethanol Toyota Camry. “Corn farmers are excited to continue our relationship with RAB Racing and Kenny Wallace in 2012,” said Garry Niemeyer, National Corn Growers Association president. “Kenny is a fan favorite and one of the most visible drivers in the sport. He has been an outspoken supporter of ethanol and Sunoco Green E15. He comes from the Midwest, so he truly appreciates the important role corn farmers play in providing consumers with a fuel that is made in America and provides jobs here at home.” Wallace will attempt to make his eleventh Daytona 500 start. His last start in the Great American Race came in 2008, when he raced his way into the starting lineup via an eighth-place finish in the first Gatorade Duel. With Wallace behind the wheel of their NASCAR Nationwide series Toyota in 2011, the #09 team finished seventh in the series driver championship standings, a career-best for the Concord, NC-based team, after posting eleven top-ten finishes. The crew chief for the #09 team will be announced at a later date.
Loomis out at Petty Motorsports
Richard Petty Motorsports has elected not to renew Robbie Loomis’ contract for 2012. Loomis who was most recently listed at Chief Operating Officer for RPM, first joined Petty Enterprises as a crew chief in 1991 at the end of the King’s driving career. “I’m taking some time off,” Loomis said. “My contract was up in December and I’m looking to explore what’s next. Richard is still family – so is everyone else at Richard Petty Motorsports. The future is exciting because it’s unknown but there’s still a lot of uncertainty in what the future brings.” Loomis wouldn’t acknowledge whether or not he would continue on as a consultant for the team but added that he’d “Do anything to help Richard Petty Motorsports be in a better place.” But with Best Buy pulling out of RPM and Smithfield signing up for a limited schedule on the #43 Ford, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the company could no longer afford Loomis’ reported seven-figure salary. While no successor for Loomis has been named, certainly with twenty years of racing experience, Sammy Johns, RPM’s director of operation, is more than capable of overseeing the competition department.
Bristol going green with Danica for St. Pats Day
Bristol Motor Speedway is “Going Green” in a big way with Go Daddy Girl Danica Patrick during a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration for the Nationwide series event March 17th. Breaking a long-standing tradition of eschewing green, once a much-maligned hue in the NASCAR garage, the World’s Fastest Half-Mile is embracing the color, right along with Patrick who will be driving a special St. Patrick’s Day paint scheme in the 300-lapper that day. Patrick pilots the shamrock covered GoDaddy.com ride for JR Motorsports and makes her second start at BMS. As part of the celebration, fans can purchase a special ticket package for the race which also gives them access to a question and answer session with Patrick at Bristol on the morning of March 17th. Fans will also receive a limited edition Danica/St.Patrick’s Day event t-shirt, featuring the shamrock-themed #7 GoDaddy.com car. In addition, one lucky fan who purchases the package wins two hot passes and the opportunity to view the race from Patrick’s pit box. Fans may visit a special website, DanicaGoesGreenAtBristol.com, which will keep them up to date with all the current news surrounding Patrick, tickets and the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at BMS. The St. Patrick’s Day celebration is hosted by George Wendt, known for his eleven-year role of beer-drinking Norm Peterson on the television series Cheers. A post-race pit party also is on tap in the hospitality area with live music. In addition, the creek that runs through the property at BMS will be dyed green for the race and the lights that illuminate the stadium at night all will be green. The Patrick ticket package is available for $67 and includes a limited edition t-shirt, a $10 coupon to the JR Nation retail store at JR Motorsports, admittance to the question and answer session and the opportunity to be upgraded with pit passes courtesy of BMS. Children’s ticket packages also will be available for $37.50 and will include a child’s size t-shirt.
O’Reilly Auto Parts becomes Official Auto Parts Retailer at Talladega
Talladega Superspeedway announced that O’Reilly Auto Parts will be an official sponsor in 2012. The multi-year agreement gives O’Reilly the distinction of Official Auto Parts Retailer of Talladega Superspeedway. “We’re excited to welcome back O’Reilly Auto Parts to the Talladega Superspeedway team of sponsors,” said Talladega Superspeedway chairman Grant Lynch. “Having worked together in the past, it’s extremely rewarding to do business with a company that has a deep understanding of our sport and the best way to leverage their exposure. We look forward to sharing their brand with the thousands of loyal Talladega Superspeedway fans.
MONDAY, JANUARY 23RD
Aspen Dental to sponsor Newman in two races
Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest growing networks of dental care providers in the United States, has reached a multi-year agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing. The Syracuse, NY-based company, with more than 330 locations in twenty-two states, will be the primary sponsor of SHR’s #39 team with driver Ryan Newman at the July Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway and the September event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. When not serving as primary sponsor, Aspen Dental will be an associate sponsor with placement on the lower-rear quarter panel of the #39 Chevy and on the upper chest of Newman’s uniform. The company also secured rights to utilize Stewart promotionally.
From True Speed Communications
NASCAR Sprint Media Tour this week
More than 230 motorsports journalists from around the globe will descend upon the heart of NASCAR country for the 30thannual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. What started as a 1983 “experiment” with a handful of media that struggled to fill one charter bus, the four-day tour has evolved into the nation’s premier pre-season media event in professional sports. “The NASCAR Sprint Media Tour is four days of non-stop news and a great way for fans to hear the latest about their favorite teams just a few weeks before the start of the season,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It’s the tour’s 30th year and it’s stronger than ever, with a record number of media coming to this year’s event that features more than twenty stops throughout the four days. We’re excited to host to such a fantastic and meaningful event.” More than twenty stops will keep the participating media busy over the four-day tour including visits to Hendrick Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup series champions Stewart-Haas Racing, plus Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush-Fenway Racing are among the many teams that will also be making announcements.
MaxQ Motorsports considering several drivers
Larry Gunselman’s MaxQ Motorsports, which ran the #37 last season, indicated late in 2011 the team would run full-time with Josh Wise vying for the 2012 Rookie of the Year. In an email, Gunselman tells News/Talk WSB the team still plans to run, but is now considering three or four drivers, including Wise. Wise start-and-parked the No. 37 three times and the #66 one time last season.
From WSB Radio
NASCAR starting Speedweeks with restrictor plate that ended test
NASCAR will return to Daytona International Speedway in February with the same restrictor plate that it left with when testing ended earlier this month. Teams were informed of the rules configuration for Daytona, with includes a restrictor plate with holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter. In hopes of limiting the use of the two-car draft used by the Sprint Cup cars during the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials have made changes they hope would result in overheating if the two-car draft is used for an extended period of time during the race. The biggest change is the rear bumper has been moved two inches closer to the ground. Teams will have a front grille opening of 50 square inches – it was 40 square inches by the time testing ended last week in Daytona. The radiator pressure release valve will be set at 25 psi, the same as it was when teams left Daytona on the final afternoon of testing.
Stewart named NMPA Driver of the Year
Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was named the NationalMotorsports Press Association’s 2011 Richard Petty Driver of the Year. Stewart who had a mediocre regular season, nevertheless made the Chase for the Sprint Cup field – an then performed with near-brilliance, winning five of the final ten races of the season and edging Carl Edwards for the series championship. The title was the third for Stewart but his first racing for his own team, Stewart-Haas Racing.
Cockrum to run Daytona for Sieg Racing
Chris Cockrum’s father, Lynn, confirmed on the phone with News/Talk WSB yesterday they have forged a partnership with RSS Racing (Ryan Sieg Racing) to run the #93 truck at Daytona and possibly more races. The #93 ended 2011 ranked high enough in the points to be locked into the field at Daytona, assuming Cockrum and sponsor Advanced Communications Group (his father’s company) a spot in the race.
Ultimate Access, Value with Track Pass for 2012 Race Season at Infineon Raceway
Race fans who have dreamed about taking a heart-pounding lap around the Infineon Raceway road course or getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the stars of NASCAR during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 can make those dreams a reality in 2012. If all-access and value is what you crave, then Infineon Raceway’s 2012 Track Pass is the ticket package for you. You’ll secure the best seats for all seven major events during the 2012 Big O Tires Racing season, including NASCAR (June 22-24), NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing (July 27-29), IZOD IndyCar series (Aug. 24-26), the U.S. debut of the FIA World Touring Car Championship (Sept. 21-23), motorcycles, historic car racing and more. The Track Pass is valued at more than $1,000, but the raceway is selling them for just $425. That’s a savings of more than 50-percent.
Danica will run Coke 600 and skip Indy 500Danica Patrick has added the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to her 2012 Sprint Cup schedule, eliminating any possibility she will run in the Indianapolis 500. “I’m not going to do the Indy 500,” the former IndyCar series driver said…kick-ff the 2012 Sprint Media Tour. “I hope to do it in the future. Maybe it’ll be a double. But at this point in time, after a lot of conversations, it’s just going to be the Coke 600. It’s going to be a big challenge.” Patrick, who is running a full Nationwide series schedule at JR Motorsports and part-time Cup schedule for Stewart-Haas Racing as she makes the transition from open-wheel racing to stock cars, said it was a business decision to run NASCAR’s longest race that is held on the same day as the 500 in May.
Busch would have trouble moving team to Cup with team limitsKyle Busch will team with his brother Kurt at KBM this year in the Nationwide series. “I was feeling pretty good about our ownership chances in Nationwide, that’s going to be hard to beat,” J.D. Gibbs said about the Busch brothers pairing. Joe Gibbs said he wasn’t in the discussions of Kyle racing for his own team. “I will say that I as not in that meeting or we would not be doing this, ” Gibbs said. “These two (Busch and J.D. Gibbs) got together and somehow we are now racing against him.” As for the day when KBM might be elevated to a Sprint Cup operation, Busch sees it down the road because of all the current complications associated with such a move. “That’s obviously something I look forward to doing,” Busch said. “The Cup side is kind of difficult just due to the constrictions that NASCAR puts on all of us with me driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Essentially I could have one team, but if JGR ever went to four teams I would have to shut mine down so that makes it tough.”
From Motor Racing Network
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