|News and Views – Volume 10
For the week of January 24 – 29, 2012
This week’s News and Views brings a new feature to Fan4Racing, with the introduction to Today’s News and Views. Because there is so much news coming out daily, the weekly consolidation of news had become so much bigger. With the daily News and Views feature – with the blue logo- Fan4Racing readers can now catch up on the daily news as it breaks and the feature will be updated throughout the day. The weekly News and Views feature will continue to be updated as well and can be identified with the green logo.
Now let’s begin with the latest news…
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24TH
Logano also seeing sports psychologist
Since last season, JGR driver #20-Joey Logano has been seeing sports psychologist Bob Rotella, who also began working with Hamlin last year. “I was against it at first, thinking, ‘I don’t need a shrink,’” Logano said. “But it’s not about that, its confidence. It’s not that you’re screwed up in the head. It’s not like you’re a weirdo. I think it’s good for anybody. I have a whole new outlook. I’d recommend it to anybody.”
SPEED Annouces changes to NASCAR programs
Several NASCAR on SPEED programs take fresh approaches in 2012, with the network’s longest-running NASCAR program, Trackside, frequently splitting into two 30-minute editions, one on Friday evenings and the second on Saturday. Krista Voda hosts with Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood and Marianela Pereyra all returning to the show. NASCAR Race Day, which saw huge audience increases during last season’s 10-race NASCAR Chase for the Championship, returns with John Roberts as host, Petty, Kenny Wallace and Larry McReynolds providing analysis and Wendy Venturini, Wood and Matt Clark – replacing Hermie Sadler – reporting from the garage. Trotta adds to her responsibilities for 2012, taking on a host role for the popular tech show NASCAR Performance, working with McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Chad Knaus from SPEED’s Charlotte based studio. Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, rolling into its tenth season on SPEED, gets a prime time television look, and the popular post-race show, NASCAR Victory Lane, also takes a new slant, immediately following NASCAR Sprint Cup series races with a second airing in prime time.
Kyle Busch says he’s learned from mistakes
Kyle Busch has learned from the mistakes he made last season and ready to make a fresh go of it in 2012. Busch said during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Tour he knows he can’t continue to display the kinds of emotional actions that led to so much controversy – and trouble – last year. “I’ve got fans all the time that tell me they don’t want to see me change,” Busch said. “I’ve tried to keep that, but ultimately, it’s not going to work. If you keep getting in trouble, you’re not going to be here very long. I’m trying to change something.” Although Joe Gibbs Racing management hasn’t officially commented on Busch’s limited Nationwide series schedule this season, which will see time spent in both a Kyle Busch Motorsports entry as well as a JGR ride but not truck series starts, it is speculated sponsor M&M’s also had a say in the decision. Busch insists he has support from his race team, sponsors and most importantly his family and friends that have helped him work through the situation and concentrate on moving ahead in his life both professionally and personally.
Appeals court to listen to Mayfield in drug case
A federal appeals panel in Virginia is set to hear arguments in former stock-car driver Jeremy Mayfield’s lawsuit against NASCAR over his suspension for failing a random drug test. Mayfield is asking the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his lawsuit. A federal judge dismissed the suit, ruling that Mayfield signed documents that waived his right to sue. NASCAR suspended Mayfield in 2009 after he failed a drug test at Richmond International Raceway. He sued NASCAR, its owner and the drug testing company for defamation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract and negligence. Mayfield has argued that a combination of over-the-counter allergy medication and the prescription drug Adderall led to a positive test. In November, Mayfield was arrested in North Carolina and charged with possessing methamphetamine.
Stewart to run Daytona Nationwide race
Tony Stewart will attempt to win his seventh NASCAR Nationwide series race on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway on February 25. This year Stewart will drive the #33 Oreo 100th Anniversary Chevy fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Stewart has won the last four NASCAR Nationwide season openers at Daytona and hopes to add a fifth-straight victory next month.
From CMS Media Tour Notes
NASCAR’s Tharp honored
Kerry Tharp, NASCAR senior director of competition communications, won the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award during the 2012 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Convention at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. The prestigious award, named after the former director of public relations for Talladega Superspeedway, recognizes a public relations representative in the motorsports industry who has “exhibited the kind, generous qualities that Patterson always demonstrated.” Affectionately and appropriately nicknamed the “Commander,” Tharp leads all competition communications efforts for the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications department. Tharp joined NASCAR in 2005 after a twenty-year tenure as sports information director at the University of South Carolina.
“Kerry is a great communications professional, but more importantly he is a great human being and that is reflected in this award,” said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR vice president and chief communications officer. “He loves our sport and the people in our industry and it shows in everything he does. We’re very proud of Kerry and grateful to the NMPA for honoring him with this prestigious award.” Sports, has forever fueled Tharp’s passion and career. For twenty-six years, Tharp worked in collegiate athletics, starting in the sports information department at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University before moving to graduate school at the University of Tennessee. Following UT, Tharp worked for the University of Oklahoma for four years before moving to South Carolina.
Tharp joined NASCAR as director for the sanctioning body’s licensing office in Charlotte in April of 2005. In February of 2006, he moved to his current role as head of competition communications, based out of NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, NC. Tharp was promoted to his current title of senior director in October of 2010.
No Sponsorship Available at Earnhardt Ganassi
At a time when many NASCAR teams are scrambling to find sponsorship, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has no primary sponsorship available for the 2012 Sprint Cup series season. Team-owner Chip Ganassi congratulated his sales staff as the team’s key members met the media to open day two of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway. The sold-out sign came after the announcement the team has added Belkin, LiftMaster and Banana Boat to its list of sponsors with each taking the primary sponsorship role on Jamie McMurray’s #1 Chevy for one race, while serving as associate sponsors throughout the season.
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) announced that Banana Boat sun care will take on the sun and the speedway for a new partnership. Banana Boat sun care will sponsor the #1 Chevy of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and the 2010 Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray during the 2012 season. As part of the partnership, Banana Boat sun care will host fan experiences trackside at key races including the Daytona 500, Talladega Superspeedway and others. The sunscreen brand will provide fans with a break from the sun, offering quick relief and sun protection in its CoolZone Pit Stop. Here, fans will have the opportunity to receive a “cool-over” with the new sunscreen, play games and receive fun giveaway items.
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and LiftMaster, the number one brand of professionally installed garage doors, announced that LiftMaster will be the primary sponsor on the #1 Chevy driven by Jamie McMurray at the September 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Bayne may only run Nationwide part-time
Trevor Bayne has a Daytona 500 championship ring, an electric smile, and a bright future in NASCAR’s national divisions. What he doesn’t have right now, though, is a full-time ride in the Nationwide series for 2012. The Roush Fenway driver confirmed his #16 team doesn’t currently have the funding to race full-time on the Nationwide tour, a fact that may limit him to only a partial schedule this season. Bayne, who turns 21 next month, won a race at Texas Motor Speedway last year and finished eleventh in final points despite missing five events because of what he believes was Lyme disease. He would be viewed as a strong contender to challenge teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the championship this season, but that would require competing in all thirty-three races. And despite winning the Nationwide title last season, Stenhouse does not have full-season sponsorship, although he said the #6 car will run the entire slate with some help from manufacturer Ford. Bayne said he had not yet decided on whether to compete for championship points in Nationwide or Sprint Cup – under a NASCAR rule enacted last year, drivers must choose one – and would likely wait as long as possible to do so. Bayne’s absence would further shake up a 2012 Nationwide championship race that’s already lost two potential top-ten cars in the shutdown of Rusty Wallace Racing, seen fourth-place finisher Aric Almirola land a Sprint Cup ride at Richard Petty Motorsports, and sixth-place finisher Jason Leffler move to Kyle Busch’s truck. As of now, the top contenders appear to be Stenhouse, 2011 runner-up Elliott Sadler, top-ten drivers Justin Allgaier and Brian Scott, and newcomers Danica Patrick, Austin Dillon and Cole Whitt.
Richmond partners with local advertising agency
What better way to support the “Buy Local” initiative than to do it yourself? In the spirit of buying local, Richmond International Raceway president Dennis Bickmeier announced a partnership with local advertising agency Barber Martin. A twenty-four-year-old shop located in metro Richmond, Barber Martin is a full service agency that oversees the advertising platform for a wide variety of Richmond based companies including Adolf Jewelers, West Broad Honda, Wealthcare Capital Management, VCU School of Business, Chesterfield Auto Parts, Capitol Region Airport Commission, and Southern States Cooperative. The Barber Martin team will assist RIR with print, television, radio and out-of-home messaging and promotions for the 2012 season.
New 2013 Ford Fusion brings the “Stock Car” back to NASCAR
The 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup car, unveiled as part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, was worked on by Ford designers in an effort to bring brand identity back to the sport. The result is undeniable with the 2013 Sprint Cup car mirroring the recently unveiled 2013 Ford Fusion production car. Featuring a completely redesigned sleek new silhouette and fresh face, the 2013 Fusion Sprint Cup car was designed to be the face of a new era of stock car racing. “We wanted Fusion to be the car that helped return ‘stock car’ to NASCAR,” stated Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “I think fans, when they see the car, are just going to smile and cheer. It is going to reengage them with the sport and make the sport better because there is just something natural about seeing race cars that look like cars in their driveways.” This marks the third time Ford simultaneously launched production and NASCAR versions of a new model. The first dual launch came in 1968, with the sleek fastback Ford Torino. Legendary NASCAR driver David Pearson drove the Torino to back-to-back NASCAR championships in 1968 and 1969. The second time came in 2006, when the then newly introduced Ford Fusion appeared in showrooms and on the track. Ford took a different approach with the development of the 2013 Fusion racer. Ford Design Center staff, led by Garen Nicoghosian, and Ford aerodynamicist Bernie Marcus, spent the past year doing the early design development, freeing up the Ford race teams to concentrate on weekly NASCAR competition. “This is a seminal moment in the sport where we had a chance to get it right once again and make sure the race cars are race versions of street cars. And I am proud because I believe we have accomplished just that,” continued Allison. “The 2013 Fusion is a stunning car and the 2013 NASCAR Fusion is even more stunning and I can’t wait to see it perform on the track and connect with race fans.
|The new 2013 Ford Fusion which will run in Sprint Cup in 2013
(photo from Ford Racing)
Bodine to Red Horse Racing?
Posted on Twitter by @ToyotaRacing: “Check out @Team_Onion, new driver of the @RedHorseRacing #11 Toyota Tundra
Posted by @Team_Onion (Todd Bodine) said: “We have a ride but cannot race ‘til we get sponsorship. Sponsorship is needed for us to run
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25TH
Ray Hendrick & Al Pearce honored
Legendary NASCAR short-track star the late Ray Hendrick and long-time motorsports journalist Al Pearce are among the six Virginians selected as the Class of 2012 for the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The Class was introduced to both houses of the Virginia State Legislature in the State Capitol. In addition to Hendrick and Pearce, this year’s class includes former NFL star and Super Bowl-winning wide receiver Antonio Freeman; former NBA all-star guard and three-time NBA champion Gerald Henderson; long-time University of Virginia women’s basketball coach Debbie Ryan; retired NBA official Jess Kersey; and former MLB all-star lefthander Bill Wagner. The Class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 28 in Portsmouth.
Pearce began covering NASCAR for the Times-Herald/Daily Press in 1969 and for AutoWeek magazine in 1972, and is still working for AutoWeek. He won eight Virginia Press Association awards during his thirty-five years at the Daily Press Inc. and in 2003 earned the prestigious Henry T. McLemore Award for “continued outstanding motorsports journalism.” The McLemore Award brought with it induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, AL. The Newport News resident also has been recognized for his work by Martinsville Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Langley Speedway, which named its media center in his honor.
Hendrick was a Modified and Late Model standout during a career that began in the late 1950’s and extended into the mid 1980’s. Records are sketchy, but it’s generally agreed he won upwards of 700 races – including twenty at Martinsville Speedway – on East Coast and Southeastern tracks ranging from a quarter-mile to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. He won countless track championships, was top-ten in NASCAR Modified points nine times and twice was top-ten in Late Model Sportsman national points. He also had two top-fives and six top-ten’s in his seventeen Sprint Cup starts. Hendrick was selected to the NMPA Hall of Fame in 1993, was named one of NASCAR’s fifty greatest drivers in 1998, was a charter inductee into the Virginia Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2003, was named one of Modified racing’s all-time top-ten drivers and was a 2007 inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega. He died 1990 at age 61.
Jeff Gordon receives Spirit Award
#24-Jeff Gordon is the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award for 2011 for his work with children’s health issues. Gordon was among four quarterly winners for the award and chosen by NMPA members as the overall winner for the year. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Gordon has always taken an interest in children’s health issues through his Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation Pediatric Center Treatment Research, but those efforts expanded in 2011. Gordon brought a hands-on approach to his work with children this summer. Working with the Clinton Global Initiative, Gordon traveled to a refugee camp in the Congo in July in an effort aid with health issues. He witnessed first-hand what children in the area face and offered his personal assistance to the program.
ModSpace to sponsor Front Row Motorsports
Modular construction provider ModSpace will partner with Front Row Motorsports in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for a multi-race primary sponsorship and season-long associate sponsorship of the #38 Ford, driven by David Gilliland. The #34 Ford, driven by David Ragan, will also carry an associate sponsorship from ModSpace for the full season. The new motorsports partnership expands an existing business relationship between the Berwyn, Penn-based company and Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins. ModSpace is currently working with Jenkins’ quick-service restaurant company to build new Taco Bell/Long John Silver’s locations. The new motorsports partnership will help with another type of “building” – the continued growth of Jenkins’ Sprint Cup team, which is coming off the best season in its young history. The first appearance of the #38 ModSpace Ford is scheduled for the April 14 race at Texas Motor Speedway. ModSpace is a leading provider of modular buildings, portable storage and services for temporary or permanent space needs. Building on more than forty years of experience, ModSpace serves a diverse set of customers and markets – including commercial, construction, education, government, healthcare, industrial/energy and special events – through an extensive nationwide branch network throughout the United States and Canada. ModSpace has constructed buildings for renowned clients ranging from the Professional Golf Association (PGA) to General Motors, IBM and the U.S. Army. For for information on the company and is projects, visit ModSpace.com
BB&T and RCR Renew Longtime Partnership
Richard Childress Racing announced the extension of its longtime partnership with BB&T Corporation for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series season. The full-service financial institution will serve as primary sponsor for five races on the #31 Chevy and driver Jeff Burton, retaining its status as official bank of the 43-year-old Welcome, NC-based organization. “BB&T has been a great partner of RCR over the years so we’re very pleased to renew our program with them,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “It’s always beneficial working with a partner like BB&T that has strong ties to the area.”
BB&T’s primary race sponsorship occurs within the corporation’s branch footprint, which covers twelve states and Washington DC. The #31 BB&T Chevy will debut in March at Bristol with other appearances coming in April at Martinsville and Richmond and in May at Darlington along with a special edition co-branded paint scheme with Caterpillar at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race. The newly designed burgundy and gray paint scheme will also adorn the #31 entry at Dover in June.
Sadler Hoping for Daytona 500 Start
Elliott Sadler confirmed that talks are underway to put him in a Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet for the 2012 Daytona 500. “I’ve said before if I got a chance to be in competitive Cup car again, I would jump at the chance, “ said Sadler in an exclusive interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody. “Richard Childress and I have had some conversations, but what we really need is sponsorship. We’re getting close to getting that done, but there’s nothing done yet. I can’t confirm anything right now, but I am damn sure pulling for it to happen. “RCR will field full-time Sprint Cup series entries in 2012 for drivers #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick and #27-Paul Menard, but has an additional guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of this season; earned a year ago by Clint Bowyer’s #33 Chevy. Sadler is expected to wheel the #33, if a financial backer can be found.
30-Year Media Tour Veterans Honored
In the 30-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, only seven people have taken part in every event. Those seven – Bill Funderud, Bruce Martin, Bryant McMurray, Bob Moore, Al Pearce, Thomas Pope and Deb Williams – were honored Tuesday morning during a special breakfast that included discussion of media tour memories.
Truex Jr. Hopes to Re-sign with MWR
#56-Martin Truex Jr. knows it will take a trip to Victory Lane in order to keep sponsor NAPA and perhaps in order to keep his job at Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex enters the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series season faced with increased pressure to perform, in perhaps a now-or-never situation with a contract that expires at the end of the year. “I’m not here to float along and hang around if I’m not competitive,” Truex said. “I know what I can do in a race car. And that’s all that matters to me. This year is obviously very, very important with NAPA keeping them happy and hopefully keeping them here. For now, it’s just about getting it done. We can do it. There’s no doubt in my mind.” Truex refused to call 2012 a “make-or-break season” because, he said, every season is that way. There’s always pressure to perform, always expectations. But the 31-year-old driver acknowledged this season is crucial in deciding the future for both himself and MWR. “I mean, I want to be here next year,” he said. “We both have to wait and see how all that goes. But I feel good about this year. I really do. Time will tell.”
Petty discusses Robbie Loomis
Richard Petty said chief operating officer, Robbie Loomis was not fired, that his contract simply expired, and he still maintained a “personal” relationship with the organization that has struggled financially the past few years. Loomis had been in charge of turning around Richard Petty Motorsport’s on-track program for the past six years. He previously was at Hendrick Motorsports, where he was the crew chief for Jeff Gordon when he won the 2001 Sprint Cup title. Petty said the decision not to offer a new deal had nothing to do with Loomis being outspoken about want to sign 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch after Busch was released from Penske Racing. “That was the business part of it,” Petty said of Loomis’ departure. “Personally, nothing has changed. Anything we do at the shop, we call him and let him know. He’s up on the very latest thing we do at the shop.” Petty said all of Loomis’ responsibilities at the track and shop have been re-assigned to other people. He did not rule out Loomis returning at some point, if it is financially feasible. “He has a personal connection to Richard Petty Motorsports,” Petty said. “Right now, that’s all it is.”
2013 cars to be tested at Homestead
All four 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup series car models are scheduled to be tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway February 1st in a test that will apparently be closed. That may be the first time crewmen get to see all four models. Why is NASCAR, and its big marketing operation, taking such a seemingly low-keyed approach? Apparently it’s because the sanctioning body has not yet ‘aero-matched’ the four models in the wind tunnel. Ford is billing its new model as a Fusion (not Mustang, as once planned), and when the car maker officially unveiled its 2013 street version, it was then free to take the wraps off the NASCAR version which is decidedly different from the current Sprint Cup model, the still controversial and not greatly liked by many car-of-tomorrow. Chevrolet, for example, still hasn’t officially named its model for its 2013 NASCAR Cup car.
Kroger-USE to sponsor #47 Toyota in Daytona 500
Kroger will have a major presence during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, returning as primary sponsor of JTG Daugherty Racing’s #47 Toyota Camry of Bobby Labonte. “We are pleased to have Kroger helping us kick off our season at Daytona again,” Labonte said. “They are a great partner of JTG Daugherty Racing. They enjoyed the race last year and we were in the hunt for the win. We were able to stay out of trouble to be in contention on the final lap. If we can be that fortunate this year and put ourselves in position again, anything can happen.” Once again, the Kroger car will carry the USO logo in the Daytona 500. In 2011, the Kroger family of stores expanded its partnership with the USO through Honoring Our Heroes, a year-long campaign to support members of the armed forces and their families. With the help of customers, associates and key partners, the program generated $1.5 million to assist the USO’s programs to support troops and families. Kroger will present these funds to the USO during pre-race ceremonies at the Daytona 500. This company-wide campaign with the USO will continue in 2012. The USO is the nations’ leading organization providing morale-boosting programs and services to enhance the quality of life for troops and their families around the world. Kroger and JTG Daugherty Racing also will thank the hundreds of Kroger associates from across the country on active duty and reservist members of our armed forces. They are paying special tribute by placing the names of these men and women on the hood of the car for the Daytona 500.
BUBBA burger to sponsor Labonte for two races
JTG Daugherty Racing revealed BUBBA burger has signed on with the racing organization as a primary sponsor for Bobby Labonte’s #47 Toyota Camry during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series. BUBBA burger is scheduled to have prominent position on Labonte’s car during the Pocono 400 at Pocono on June 10 and at Chicago on September 16. “BUBBA burger is excited to return as a sponsor of JTG Daugherty Racing, “according to Billy Morris President/CEO of BUBBA foods. “NASCAR Fans have grown to be great fans of BUBBA burger at the track and at home. It was an easy decision for our Racing Season is Grilling Season promotion. Together we will win on the track and off the track.” Additionally, BUBBA burger is scheduled to have a presence on Labonte’s machine as an associate sponsor for the full season. BUBBA burger is an obvious fit for JTG Daugherty Racing’s retail theme ‘Racing Season is Grilling Season.’ “BUBBA burger has activated a lot in our sport and it’s great to hear they are sponsoring our Toyota Camry this year,” said Labonte. “BUBBA burger used to be JTG Daugherty Racing’s partner and I know Tad (Geschickter) is happy to have them back. They fall right into the team’s marketing theme and they are the #1 branded frozen burger in the United States.
Roush plans to expand back to a four-car team
Team owner Jack Roush said despite the “economic pressures” that forced his organization to shrink from four to three Cup teams this season, he is looking to expand back to a quartet when possible. “The plan is to go back to that four-car stable…yes,” Roush said. “In the meantime, we’ve been able to reposition personnel and resources within the organization because of the downsizing that I think will make us very strong.” Roush also confirmed that his team will run Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the full Nationwide series schedule this season and is still working on sponsorship to run Trevor Bayne for a complete campaign.
Furniture Row Racing announces associate sponsorships
Coming off its most competitive season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, #78 Furniture Row Racing is enjoying similar success on the sponsorship side with the addition of CSX Transportation and its railroad crossing and pedestrian safety campaign for the 2012 season. CSX Transportation, the largest railroad in the East and third largest in the United States, joins Chevrolet and Argo-Culture Liquid Fertilizers in the associate sponsorship role with all three companies complementing the team’s primary sponsors Furniture Row and Denver Mattress. Headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, CSX Transportation maintains a more than 21,000-mile freight rail network serving twenty-three states and portions of Canada. Building upon several years of its innovative safety communications campaign, CSX will utilize the Furniture Row Racing sponsorship as part of the “Play it Safe” campaign to urge pedestrians and motorist to exercise caution around railroad tracks.
Yeley to drive for Robinson-Blakeney
Newly established Sprint Cup team Robinson-Blakeney Racing has tabbed JJ Yeley to drive its #49 Toyota for the 2012 season. In addition, Yeley will be reunited with crew chief Tony Furr, who has been hired to coordinate and direct the upstart endeavor. “I am energized and looking forward to working with (owner and manager) Jay Robinson and our team beginning at Daytona in the Duel 150 race and building success all the way to Homestead,” said Yeley, who has eleven top-ten finishes in his Cup career. “I have enjoyed a good working relationship in the past with Tony Furr as my crew chief and am happy to be partnered with him again on this team.” Furr brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and has the tools available to formulate a competitive effort at Robinson-Blakeney Racing. “I am excited to again be working with a talented driver like JJ as well as the rest of the team and owners at Robinson-Blakeney Racing,” Furr said. In addition to its first year in Cup, Robinson-Blakeney Racing returns for its twelfth season of competition in the Nationwide series in the #28 car. “We are preparing the team for a very successful 2012 season and we are pleased to announce our partnerships with Tony and JJ.” Robinson said.
Gaughan to run limited schedule for RCR
Brendan Gaughan will compete in four races on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series schedule, driving Richard Childress Racing’s #33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Impala in addition to his previously announced eighteen-race NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck series schedule with the Welcome, NC based race team. Leading the effort for the #33 team will be veteran crew chief Gil Martin, RCR’s Nationwide series program team manager. Martin has been at RCR since 2000 and has served as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Kerry Earnhardt and Robby Gordon. He is one of a select few crew chiefs to win races in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. “The opportunity to run four races for Richard Childress in the Sprint Cup series is truly amazing,” said Gaughan. “RCR has top-notch equipment and teamed me with a winning crew chief in Gil Martin. Everyone deserves a second chance and I am ecstatic that my second chance in the Sprint Cup series is in the #33 Chevrolet with RCR.” Gaughan’s four-race Sprint Cup series schedule will start at Phoenix in March at the 2nd race of the season, followed by the next three races of the season at Las Vegas, Bristol and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. RCR’s No. 33 team finished thirteenth in final 2011 owner point standings and is locked into the first five races of the season.
Sadler to run Daytona 500 for RCR
General Mills and The Kroger Co. announced it will partner with Richard Childress Racing and veteran driver Elliott Sadler on the #33 Chevy for the 54th annual Daytona 500 on February 26, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway. “It’s great to be back in the Daytona 500. I’ve had a lot of success in this race in the past and want to thank General Mills, Kroger and Richard Childress for this opportunity,” said Elliott Sadler. “When we started putting this program together the first thing that came to mind is how strong RCR’s plate program has always been. We’re going to go out and have a legitimate chance to win the race. Speedweeks can’t get here soon enough!” General Mills, entering its fourth year of partnership with the Welcome, NC-based organization, is teaming up with The Kroger Co. for a special paint scheme celebrating the great brands from both organizations. The special red, white and blue paint scheme adorning Sadler’s Chevrolet for “The Great American Race” will feature the Kroger Co. Family of Stores, Fred Meyer Jewelers and several General Mills brands. The Minneapolis, MN-based General Mills also sponsors RCR’s #31 Wheaties Chevy with driver Jeff Burton. Leading the effort for the #33 team will be veteran crew chief Gil Martin, RCR’s NASCAR Nationwide series program team manager. Martin has been at RCR since 2000 and has served as crew chief for Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Kerry Earnhardt and Robby Gordon. He is one of a select few crew chiefs to win races in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. Childress a two-time Daytona 500 champion car owner, will use owner points accumulated during the 2011 Sprint Cup series season to field the #33 Chevrolet entry as the team finished thirteenth in the final 2011 owner point standings.
Trevor Bayne says he had Lymes
Daytona 500 winner #21-Trevor Bayne says there are no after-effects from Lyme disease which sidelined him for two months last season. Bayne is less concerned about his health than with having the sponsorship that would allow him to compete for the Nationwide series title. Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said he should know in a few weeks if that will happen. Doctors never officially called Bayne’s illness Lyme disease, referring to it instead as an inflammatory condition. But the 20-year-old driver said during the Sprint media tour that he since has been told it was Lyme. “They wouldn’t (confirm) because it’s such a hard thing to define,” Bayne said. “All you can look at with Lyme is a rash. I had already had medication for it, so it can hide. Lyme is…something that hides in your bloodstream. It is hard to diagnose. To me, if they treat it and it goes away, to me that seems like a pretty good answer.”
Chastain to SS Green Light Racing and Rookie of the Year candidate
SS Green Light Racing is pleased to announce that 19-year-old Florida late model standout Ross Chastain will join the team for 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck series season. Chastain will pilot the team’s Toyota Tundra beginning with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at the famed Daytona International Speedway under the guidance of longtime driver, owner and crew chief Bobby Dotter. Ross began his racing career at age twelve running the Fastkids trucks in his native state and has accumulated over fifty feature wins as he advanced through the ranks to late models. The Alva, FL native was the late model champion at the prestigious World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Raceway in 2011. Ross ran five NCWTS races in 2011 finishing tenth in his first ever start at Lucas Oil Raceway and completed an impressive 98.5% of the laps in the five races with an average finish of 18.8. Returning to its familiar #08 for the 2012 season, Chastain and the team SS Green Light team are guaranteed a starting spot for the first four races of the campaign. Sponsorship for the south Florida farmer is currently being finalized with multiple agricultural based businesses and will be announced at a later date. The team is also actively pursuing additional marketing partners for select races in the twenty-two-race NCWTS schedule. The SS Green Light team has one of the longest tenures in the NCWTS with 270 consecutive starts dating back to 2001. The team is planning to run the #07 and #08 Toyota Tundra entries utilizing horsepower from Mark Smith’s Pro Motor Engines. SS Green Light Racing and Chastain plan to run the full NCWTS schedule and compete for Rookie of the Year honors.
Snyder named crew chief for Gresham
Joe Denette Motorsports is pleased to announce that Terry “Richie” Snyder has been named crew chief for the #24 Made In USA Brand Chevrolet of Max Gresham for the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck series season. Snyder got his start working on late models and has a background in racing that spans more than ten years. With extensive experience building suspension, Snyder also served as a fill-in truck chief on Johnny Benson’s 2008 Championship winning team. He was also the truck chief for Timothy Peters during the 2009-2010 NCWTS seasons and for Jason White in 2011. Over the past seven years, Snyder has contributed to fifteen wins, seven pole awards and 65 top-five finishes in the NCWTS.
Las Vegas race fans can get a free night of lodging at the Stratosphere
Las Vegas is a city known for its “comps” and “deal-making” and the Stratosphere Las Vegas has an incredible offer for race fans. With the Buy Two and Get One Free promotion, anyone who buys weekend tickets for the March 9-11 NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will get one night of the three-night hotel stay paid for by Stratosphere in addition to many other benefits. The Stratosphere will be sponsoring its second annual Pole Day qualifying on March 9 at LVMS. Pole Day kicks off the three-day weekend that includes the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup series race. The free night’s lodging is just the beginning of the perks Stratosphere is offering race fans. Race cans taking part in this offer will receive free acces throughout the race weekend to the 113-story Stratosphere Tower, one free entry into a Speedway of Cash slot tournament being held during race week, two-for-one tickets to the stage show BITE, $10 off tickets to headliner Frankie Moreno Live at Stratosphere and discounts in the salon and spa. Beginning Wednesday, January 25, 2012, any race fan purchasing a weekend package to the NASCAR Weekend in either the Petty or Earnhardt Terraces at LVMS is eligible for the free night at the hotel. In addition to the tickets, the Stratosphere package is $299 and includes the lodging as well as the other amenities. Race fans can choose to stay either Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Monday. To take advantage of this offer, please call the LVMS ticket office at 1-800-644-4444. This offer is only available over the phone and will be in place as long as rooms remain available.
Blake Shelton to perform Pre-Race Concert at All-Star Race
Blake Shelton, three-time Grammy nominee, CMA’s reigning Male Vocalist of the Year and coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” will perform a pre-race concert for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, May 19, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Presented by Target, the concert will take place in the infield between turns one and two. Admission to the show is free with the purchase of a ticket to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Fans can purchase a special Golden Ticket upgrade for just $20 to secure a prime location with special access to a reserved area directly in front of the stage. CMS Season Ticket holders will have first opportunity to purchase the upgrade before it opens to the public on Wednesday, January 25 at noon. Approximately 2,000 Golden Tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). In February, Shelton will perform a duet of “America the Beautiful” with his wife, Grammy award-winning artist, Miranda Lambert, at SuperBowl XLVI.
Latest on a track in Minnesota
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says even if a new Minnesota Vikings stadium is not built in Arden Hills, he is still interested in cleaning up the old Army munitions site. So, how might the site be developed? Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS News a $300 million NASCAR motor-sports complex is being discussed. Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett confirms commissioners have had meetings with NASCAR backers. Bennett also says several entities have shown interest in building casinos on the property. Despite all the interest, the county and the Vikings still prefer to build a stadium on the site.
From KSTP .com
Ryan Truex & Bobby Santos to drive for Tommy BaldwinTommy Baldwin Racing expands its Nationwide series program with the addition of Ryan Truex and Bobby Santos, who will split driving duties with Ryan Blaney. Truex will compete in the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, February 25. Santos will race in the Subway Jalapeno 250 at DIS July 6. Blaney will run six NNS events with TBR, debuting April 27 at Richmond International Raceway. Truex will make his first superspeedway start in the NNS season-opener. The 19-year-old racer made his NNS debut in 2010 at Gateway International Raceway and made twenty-four starts in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He compiled five top-ten finishes including a third-place finish at Kansas Speedway. Truex competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro series East in 2009 and 2010 and won the championship both years with a top-ten average finish. Santos has competed under the TBR Development banner since 2010. He competed in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) in 2010 and 2011 and won the championship in his first season in the series. The 26-year-old won the inaugural USAC National Pavement Sprint Car series championship last season in a family-owned car. Santos made five starts in the NNS since 2007. His last start was t DIS February 2011 wehre he finished seventeenth in a JR Motorsports-prepared Chevy.
From Tommy Baldwin Racing
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26th
Harvicks expecting a baby
#29-Kevin Harvick said his wife is fourteen weeks pregnant. Harvick announced DeLana Harvick’s pregnancy during a media event at Richard Childress Racing. The couple closed their race team at the end of last season and said they were excited to use all the free time they were about to acquire.
TaxSlayer.com Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence Announced
TaxSlayer.com and Charlotte Motor Speedway announced the winners of the 27th Annual TaxSlayer.com Motorsports Journalism Awards of Excellence in honor of Russ Catlin presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway. This year marked the most competitive contest to date, as a record-setting 200 entries were submitted. The 2011 honorees were Don Coble – Morris News Service/Florida Times-Union, David Caraviello – NASCAR .com, Alan Cavanna – WSOC, Justin Burnett – SPEED, and Will Lester – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin for outstanding motorsports coverage in 2011. To view the winning entries, visit CMS. The TaxSlayer.com Mtorosports Journalism Awards of Excellence recognize the best motorsports coverage in five categories: Daily and Other Writing, Local and National Broadcast and Photojournalism. Entries are open to all forms of motorsports coverage, and no affiliation or membership is required for participation. As in years past, the Indiana University School of Journalism judged the award entries. The recipients were honored at a ceremony held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Winners received a trophy and $1000 scholarship from TaxSlayer.com in their names to the school of their choice. Their names were also added to a perpetual trophy housed at Charlotte Motor Speedway that lists all past winners.
Caterpillar to sponsor Burton for 24 races
Caterpillar will be the primary sponsor on Jeff Burton’s #31 Chevy for twenty-one of the thirty-six Sprint Cup races in 2012. Caterpillar also will sponsor the #31 car in three non-points events, the Budweiser Shootout and Gatorade Duels at Daytona and the Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte. In all other races, Caterpillar will still have a major presence on the car. Included in the Caterpillar races are both Talladega dates, Las Vegas, both Texas races, the June race at Michigan, the night race at Bristol, Watkins Glen and Chicago. Caterpillar will be the primary sponsor for eight of the 10 Chase races. “We’re very pleased,” said Greg Towles, Caterpillar’s NASCAR program director. “We got the races we wanted. “Not on the schedule is the Brickyard 400, which Caterpillar has often relinquished to other primary sponsors in the past. Towles said that race is a tough sell to Caterpillar’s dealers and customers because hospitality is costly. The twenty-one races will include specialty paint schemes, including a patriotic theme for the All-Star Race. In past years, the company has used the car to showcase different divisions such as Cat Rental, Cat Financial and, last year, Cat Global Mining, and Towles said that program will continue. With the departure of Clint Bowyer from Richard Childress Racing, General Mills’ Wheaties brand also will be a primary sponsor for Burton this year. And it was also announced that BB&T, another one of Bowyer’s former sponsors, will be the primary for five of Burton’s races in 2012.
Bill Elliott and Walmart team up for Daytona in July
Walmart announced they will expand their merchandise program in 2012, the 50th anniversary of the retail giant. While the merchandise partnership isn’t new, Walmart will take to the track for the first time with a Chevy built by Turner Motorsports and driven by Bill Elliott. However the effort as of now, is for only one race; the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July. The company wanted to get on the track this year with the #50 Chevy and Elliott to help celebrate the 50th birthday of the company in July and just wants to ‘have a lot of fun with it,’ said Rand Waddoups, senior direct Entertainment Properties and Brands for Walmart. The company has no shop has hired no personnel and has no plans beyond the single race. ‘But we have six months yet,’ Waddoups added.
Speed and #95 team plans to run 16 races
Scott Speed will drive a partial Sprint Cup series schedule for Leavine Family Racing this season, focusing mostly on the 1.5-mile tracks and road courses. Team owner Bob Leavine was impressed with Speed’s ability to out-qualify his car last season with inferior equipment and decided to give the ex-Formula One racer a shot. The team plans to avoid start-and-parking if possible and run the full races it enters, beginning with the Texas Motor Speedway race in April. “You can make more money doing (start-and-parks), for sure, but that’s not what Bob wants to do,” Speed said. “We want to be professional about it. We’re going to look good, we’re going to have all of our stuff right and represent our brand and what we’re doing the right way and not just be another start-and-park team.” Leavine gets its engines from Roush Fenway Racing (on a lower tier) and buys used Roush cars to field its #95 entry (which David Starr drove last season). “We’re going about it the right way as much as you can be,” Speed said. “We’re not a fully-funded team that’s running a full year. But instead of doing a lot, we’re doing what we can and doing it right. If we’re running well, the pedal is to the floor.” The team won’t run the superspeedway races, because that requires buying a special car and hoping it survives a crapshoot race. But it will purchase a car for the road courses, Speed said, because those events are “probably more in our control.”
“There are a lot of great drivers who don’t have a ride,” said Speed. “It’s a tough time in our sport and I am lucky to have the opportunity here at Leavine Family Racing because it’s one of the good ones out there. We are doing sixteen races and we are going to do them right including the two road course races. We are going to go out and race when we have the ability to run and run it right.”
From CMS Media Tour Notes
NASCAR and MillerCoors extend partnership
NASCAR, MillerCoors and Penske Racing jointly announced multi-year partnership extensions for the brewer’s two biggest brands. For MillerCoors, the deals with the sanctioning body and one of the sport’s most respected teams solidify its status among the most committed sponsors in NASCAR. In addition, MillerCoors has alliances with seven tracks that host NASCAR races. Coors Light is extending its sponsorship as the Official Beer of NASCAR.
MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said the renewals point to the value of NASCAR as a powerful way to connect with legal-drinking-age consumers. “We don’t make investment decisions like this without having a great sense of exactly what the alliance will deliver for our brands,” England said. “That’s why I’m so excited about our continued partnerships with NASCAR and Penske Racing. NASCAR fans are among the most passionate and loyal fans in all of sports, and they love Coors Light or a great tasting, never watered down Miller Lite. Our distributors and retailers know that, which is why they’re so supportive of our leadership in the sport.
The Coors Light partnership with NASCAR includes the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck series’, which rewards the driver with the fastest qualifying time each week. It also includes the exclusive right to use NASCAR marks on retail point-of-sale and merchandising materials, in advertising and digital marketing, and through other marketing tools.
Coors Light brings special insight to race fans through its Miss Coors Light program, which began at the start of the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and continued throughout the 2011 season. Miss Coors Light, who will be back in 2012, presents the Coors Light Pole Award to the winning driver, makes appearances during race week at local bars and provides her perspective on NASCAR activities via the Miss Coors Light Facebook page.
“The return of MillerCoors to NASCAR not only ensures that the company will bring back compelling activation that continues to engage and excite our fans, but it also benefits our ecosystem as a whole, which is comprised of tracks, drivers and teams,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. “As a sanctioning body, NASCAR is proud to have Coors Light as part of our stable of Official Partners for whom we create exclusive assets and platforms to drive their respective businesses. NASCAR is the sport that works for business, and we’re pleased to see it working so well for MillerCoors.
Miller, Keselowski and Wolfe signed through 2015
#2-Brad Keselowski’s extension with Penske Racing is for two years, with an organization option for a third year in 2015, team sources confirmed. Keselowski was entering the last year of his initial three-year deal with Penske. The team had announced Dec. 1 that an extension was signed, but no terms were disclosed. Crew chief Paul Wolfe and sponsor Miller Lite also have re-signed through 2015.
From ESPN .com
AND Miller Lite has renewed its partnership with Penske Racing. Miller Lite will continue as the season-long primary sponsor of Penske’s #2 Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski, building upon an alliance that began in 1991. For Miller Lite, its sponsorship extension with Penske and Keselowski comes after an amazing 2011 season, Keselowski’s second full year on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Keselowski and his Miller Lite team surged from deep in the driver standings as late as mid-July to win three races, qualify for the Chase and finish fifth in the championship standings. Keselowski and the Blue Deuce are featured throughout the year in Miller Lite-branded point-of-sale materials displayed in on-and off-premise retail accounts across the country, as well as in advertising and digital marketing. Keselowski and members of his crew also make special appearances at retail accounts to visit Miller Lite customers throughout the season. “The #2 Miller Lite Dodge is coming off a very successful season on the racetrack – one where we reached Victory Lane for a sixth-consecutive season while qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” said Roger Penske. “The continued support of MillerCoors will ensure that this long-standing partnership will remain one of the strongest bonds in professional motorsports. With Miller Lite, we are proud to have one of the few full-season sponsors in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. That continuity is one of the many reasons Brad and the team are primed for another great season.
Dr. Joseph mattioli, Pocono Raceway Patriarch, Passes
Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Founder and Chairman of the Board, passed away January 26th at the Lehigh Valley Hospital Center surrounded by his loving family, following a lengthy illness. He was 86. “Doc” as he was known to friends and associates, was one of the most respected and admired men in automotive racing. He founded Pocono Raceway in the early 1960’s and has been at the helm of Pocono ever since. Under his leadership, the track grew in stature and has hosted sixty-eight very successful NASCAR Sprint Cup series events. His passion and drive helped Pocono Raceway to succeed when other tracks fell by the wayside. Pocono Raceway is the only remaining family owned and run track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series schedule. He was always concerned that race fans and race car drivers and their families were treated with the utmost respect and constantly upgraded procedures and Raceway facilities to meet that goal.
He kept his fingers on the pulse of stock car racing and read everything printed concerning the sport. He was in the office daily, until last fall, and oversaw all aspects of the Pocono Raceway operations. At age 83, Dr. Mattioli spearheaded an ambitious solar energy project. He built a three megawatt photovoltaic solar energy system on twenty-five acres at Pocono Raceway. It is the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility, making Pocono Raceway a leader in the renewable energy and environmental fields.
Dr. Mattioli was also well respected in the community. In 2009, he received the Philanthropic Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his generous and continuous contributions to local civic organizations, hospitals, schools, and charities. He served on the board of directors of numerous organizations and was dedicated to improving the quality of life in Northeastern PA.
He served in the Pacific during World War Two as a Navy medic. Using the GI bill, he enrolled in the dentistry program at Temple University (where he met his soon to be wife, Rose). Upon graduation, he developed his dental practice into a very lucrative business by working twelve to fourteen hour days, six and sometimes seven days a week. He then began investing in and developing properties in Philadelphia and Northeastern Pennsylvania where he became involved in the start up of Pocono Raceway. Dr. Mattioli is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Dr. Rose, daughters Louie and Michele and son Joseph Mattioli III, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His passing leaves a void in the NASCAR community and especially to his family and extended “Pocono Raceway” family. Service arrangements for Dr. Joseph Mattioli are incomplete at this time.
From Pocono Raceway
Richard Petty Motorsports forms NNS team for AnnettRichard Petty Motorsports announced today the formation of a new NASCAR Nationwide series team with driver Michael Annett and his long-time partner Pilot Flying J. The team will be run out of RPM’s Concord, NC race shop and will vie for the NASCAR Nationwide series championship. Annett, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, comes to Richard Petty Motorsports after spending last season at Rusty Wallace, Inc. He has posted thirteen top-ten finishes in 105 Nationwide series starts and drove to a ninth-place finish in the championship points standings last season. Pilot Flying J the driver driven company, is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has more than 500 retail locations across North American.
From Richard Petty Motorsports pr
The car number will be #43.
Snap-On to sponsor #22 in Four racesOne of Penske’s Racing’s longest-tenured sponsors is building on its relationship with the organization in 2012. Entering its 30th year as a Penske Racing sponsor, Snap-On Tools will enhance its role with the organiztion to serve as primary sponsor of the #22 Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide series for four races this season. Snap-on’s colors and branding will adorn the #22 car driven this season by both former Nationwide series champion Brad Keselowski and rising star Parker Kligerman in races at Darlington Raceway, May 11, Dover International Speedway, June 2, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, July 14, and Richmond International Raceway, September 7. Snap-on will continue to be an associate sponsor on all Penske Racing cars competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series this season as well as its IndyCar series teams. Building on a strong and productive relationship that enters its third decade, Penske Automotive Group and Penske Truck Rental also continue to use Snap-on products across all levels of their respective businesses.
From Penske Racing
Efland to drive for Sinica Motorsports at DaytonaDanny Efland Racing and Sinica Motorsports Inc. will team up for the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway for February 25, 2012.
From Sinica Motorsports
Veteran crew chief Wauters turns team owner with Rookie HarrakaVeteran NASCAR crew chief Richie Wauters takes the leap into NASCAR Camping World Truck series team ownership forming Wauters Motorsports which in 2012 will be driven by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Paulie Harraka. Wauters’ career began at tracks around his hometown Green Bay, Wisconsin and quickly moved into the NASCAR Touring series. Wauters crewed successful NASCAR Sprint Cup teams with drivers Kenny Wallace, Elliott Sadler, Robert Pressley and Jeff Green. Wauters, in his tenure as a crew chief in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series, led teams to eighteen victories from 2004-2010 with drivers Shane Hmiel, Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola. Former NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Harraka will take the wheel of the Ford F150 Camping World truck. Most recently, Harraka posted three victories in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Harraka, a senior at Duke University has also scored the Championship in NASCAR’s Whelen All-American series, and posted two different NASCAR Rookie of the Year titles: NASCAR Whelen All-American series and NASCAR Camping World Series West (Now K&N Pro Series West). The Wauters Motorsports F150 NASCAR Camping World Truck series truck will be utilizing Doug Yates and Roush Racing Engines in their debut at Daytona International Speedway for the running of the NextEra Energy Resources 250, Friday, February 24th.
From Wauters Motorsports PR and NASCAR .com
Kentucky Speedway Infrastructure Improvements OutlinedKentucky Speedway officials presented national reporters an overview of infrastructure projects in progress at the 107,000 capacity Sparta, KY facility during the annual NASCAR preseason media tour. Outlined projects will be complete before Kentucky Speedway opens its five-race 2012 schedule with a NASCAR triple-header weekend featuring the Sprint Cup series “Quaker State 400,” Nationwide series “Feed the Children 300,” and Camping World Truck series “UNOH 225” June 28-30. The speedway will play host to a second 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide series event on September 22 and a 225-mile NASCAR Camping World Truck series race on September 21.
This season, Kentucky Speedway will feature…Expanded Parking: Kentucky Speedway purchased two large land parcels adjacent to the north side of Kentucky Highway 35 which will be converted to expansive new parking fields. Kentucky Speedway also repurposed portions of its original acreage for additional parking.Easier Facility Access: The state of Kentucky has committed to widening the Interstate 71 exit ramp at Ky. 35, widening Ky.35 to seven lanes at points where it services the speedway and constructing a pedestrian tunnel which will safely connect new parking fields to the Kentucky Speedway grounds.A New Traffic Plan: Kentucky Speedway will execute a new pedestrian and automotive traffic plan. Infrastructure Improvements: Kentucky Speedway will construct an overpass to its infield tunnel road that will separate tram traffic and infield traffic. The speedway also will expand restrooms. Improved Campsites: Expanded campgrounds will feature enhanced campsites, many with access to electric service.
“We want the chance to prove ourselves. You’ll see when you come back, all the improvements,” Speedway Motorsports, Inc (SMI) Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith said. Five-race season ticket plans, a three-race June Weekend Ticket Package that includes a 1:24 scale Dale Earnhardt, Jr., die-cast collectible along with season and weekend campsites are available now at 859-578-2300, or by going to Kentuckyspeedway.com, The Kentucky Speedway corporate offices at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, KY, 41806 off of Interstate 71, Exit 57 and State Highway 35.
From Kentucky Speedway
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27th
Andretti’s team up for Daytona 24
The worlds of NASCAR, IndyCar, USAC and the Rolex series will come together next week as part of the No. 36 Yellow Dragon Motorsports Mazda RX-8 driver line-up for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The father and son team of John and Jarett Andretti highlight the entry and will race together for the first time. Joining them will be Mazda sports car racing veteran Taylor Hacquard, and promising Mazda open-wheel driver Anders Krohn, forming Yellow Dragon’s most impressive Rolex 24 driver squad to date. With twelve Indy 500 and fourteen Daytona 500 starts to his credit, John Andretti is one of America’s most accomplished racers, and as the overall winner of the 1989 Rolex 24 at Daytona, returning to race at the storied endurance event with his son Jarett – and with the support of Window World – was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. “This will be my fourth Rolex 24, and the opportunity to race with Jarett was the deciding factor,” he said. “The 50th Anniversity of the race is also a major motivation, and I’m looking forward to working with Window World, the team and other drivers in this historic event with a winning manufacturer like Mazda.” After earning a USAC championship in 2011, Jarett Andretti is poised to show the kind of versatility that has become synonymous with his last name. Trading midget racing for the wail of a triple-rotor Mazda RX-8, the teenager will draw from the experience of his father and teammates during his professional road racing debut.
Ward and Jeb Burton to race in Truck series
After a five-year absence from competing in a NASCAR race, Ward Burton will drive at Daytona in February in the NextEra Energy 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck series event. Burton and his 19-year-old son, Jeb, have teamed with Hillman Racing in the Truck series to run the #27 Chevy this season. Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 winner and brother of current Richard Childress Racing team member Jeff Burton, stepped away from the sport in 2007 to help Jeb’s racing career as well as work with the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. Burton had five career wins in the NASCAR Sprint Bup series and four in the Nationwide series. Jeb moves up from the NASCAR Whelen All-American series to the Truck series. Ward will race at Daytona because Jeb is not yet qualified to run at Daytona. Burton also will make select starts throughout the truck series schedule. The younger Burton will make his debut behind the wheel in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville on March 31. Atop the pit box for the #27 will be Richmond native Trip Bruce, who worked with Burton in his Sprint Cup days at Bill Davis Racing.
From Richmond Times Dispatch and HillmanRacing .com
UPDATE – Hillman Racing has formally announced that 2002 Daytona 500 Champion Ward Burton will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck series debut behind the wheel of the #27 Hillman Racing Chevrolet with funding from State Water Heaters in next month’s season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway. Hillman Racing is making its NASCAR debut this season, but the organization is anything but new to the sport. Team owner Mike Hillman Sr. played a key role in the founding of Germain Racing and was the architect of the group’s two NASCAR championships in 2006 and 2010. Hillman acquired the championship-winning NASCAR Camping World Truck series assets following the conclusion of the 2011 season and is set to embark as the owner and general manager of Hillman Racing for the 2012 season. In addition to Burton, a driver development program is being established for Jeb Burton, the 19-year-old son of Ward. Since making his last NASCAR start, Burton has been using tht time to focus on helping his son Jeb develop his racing career and his conservation efforts with The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. “State Water Heaters and Ward Burton have been partners since 2007,” stated Jeff Storie, Senior Marketing Manager for State Water Heaters. “We realized early on that Ward has a natural connection with our wholesalers and contractors. Because of that connection, Ward is a great ambassador for the State brand. We’re thrilled that our 2012 partnership is moving back on the track with both Ward & Jeb.
From Hillman Racing
NASCAR’s Brian France says ‘Sport is in a very good place.”
NASCAR and its stakeholders intend to build on the success of 2011 as the new season begins with the February 26 Daytona 500 and other Speedweeks events at Daytona International Speedway. In his State of NASCAR remarks delivered during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said, “The sport is in a very good place and we’re going to work even harder to achieve the very best things for the sport of NASCAR well into the future.” France pointed to initiatives begun a year ago, a simplified points structure in all three national series and a “Wild Card” twist in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup that placed a greater emphasis on race victories which culminated in what France called “a championship battle that will be talked about for decades to come.” While the 2012 season will be one of continuity rather than major change, NASCAR will introduce electronic fuel injection into the NASCAR Sprint Cup series and implement rules designed to restore traditional “pack racing” at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. “We have a breathtaking number of close finishes at those tracks, but the fans want a mixture of styles including a return to a more traditional ‘pack racing’ and that close side-by-side competition that’s unique to Talladega and Daytona,“ France said. “NASCAR and the teams are working hard on this and based on the test earlier this month, we’re encouraged that we’re making progress.” France also said the sanctioning body continues to operate on a more collaborative method of maintaining and growing the industry by taking into consideration the thoughts and needs of teams, tracks, media partners and especially its fans. “The goal of this effort is to help us better serve our great fans, grow our audience and ensure that our sport stays relevant, vibrant and highly-valuable to sponsors and other partners critical to the health of NASCAR,” said France. “The industry has never been more united in growing the sport.” France said the organization is “very encouraged” by increased television ratings across the three national series NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series’. He also pointed to attendance gains at a number of venues. “While we are still in a tough economic climate that is still difficult, we are pleased with some positive steps we say last year,” he said. France and Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president, completion and racing development, touched on EFI and the introduction in 2013 of re-styled NASCAR Sprint Cup cars from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota will make the sport more relevant to manufacturers and technology companies. “EFI excites the manufacturers and technology companies,” said France, responding to questioning about NASCAR’s embrace of technology. “To attract new companies (to the sport), we’ve had to take a little different view of that.” Ford earlier this week unveiled its 2013 Fusion prototype with the other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to follow in the near future. A closed test of the cars is scheduled early next month with additional testing to follow before final specifications are drawn.
NASCAR to re-evaluate ‘boys have at it’ policy
NASCAR officials plan to re-evaluate its “boys have at it” policy going into the 2012 season and could strengthen its stance against drivers retaliating on the track. NASCAR loosened the reins on drivers in 2010, allowing them to police themselves on the track and retaliate when they believed another driver had intentionally wrecked them. The incidents intensified in 2011, and NASCAR officials acknowledged that things might have gotten out of hand near the end of the season. “We reflect on that at the end of the year and the season hasn’t started yet, but there are some things that a group of us will sit down and talk about, and that is one of them,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. “There were times that it got out of hand, and we’re going to discuss what out of had really is moving forward.” Pemberton said he doesn’t believe the trend of retaliation in general got out of hand, although specific incidents may have crossed the line. Pemberton, who coined the phrase “boys have at it” in 2010 believes NASCAR’s original position of allowing drivers to police themselves still works. “It’s working pretty well. It goes in stages,” he said. “It works pretty well, then somebody gets outside the box and everybody gets the message and it goes back to working pretty well. But we can’t take all of that for granted.”
Racing great AJ Foyt in hospital
AJ Foyt has been hospitalized in Houston for complications from knee surgery and will skip the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The 77-year-old Foyt had knee surgery two weeks ago, and an infection sent him to the hospital Wedensday. A spokeswoman for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Friday that Foyt may stay in the hospital through the weekend. She said he had been up and walking since the surgery but developed an infection this week. Foyt is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of LeMans. Foyt was scheduled to be the grand marshal Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.
From Associated Press/ESPN .com
Newt Moore name crew chief for WallaceJD Motorsports has been a whir and blur of activity the last few weeks at their South Carolina shop. Johnny Davis, #01 team owner, has hired on some key personnel to build on the achievements from the teams’s 2011 season. Mike Wallace, entering his fourth season driving for the team, has been a solid competitor during his tenure. The new addition to the team is veteran crew chief Newt Moore. Davis has 411 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts as an owner. Wallace has 416 NNS starts as a driver. Moore has 408 combined NASCAR starts atop a pit box. That makes for a good combination of experience between the three. They, and their refurbished team, are all hoping their merged know-how leads them to more success in the 2012 season.
From JD Motorsports
SATURDAY, JANUARY 28th
Roush Fenway to Commemorate “25 Winning Years” in 2012
Coming off one of the strongest seasons in its quarter-decade history, Roush Fenway Racing will commemorate 2012 by celebrating its 25th Anniversary of racing at NASCAR’s highest levels. Roush Fenway kicked off its “25 Winning Years” program this week on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s annual media tour, where they asked media to name what it considers the top moment of the organization’s celebrated 24-year racing history. “We’ve had a number of critical milestones since we started in 1988,” said team co-owner Jack Roush. “I looked around the room at the media tour at all the trophies we had on display and there is a great deal of emotion that comes to mind when I see each piece. Each trophy has a different story and represents a different milestone and sacrifice. From the first win with Mark Martin at Rockingham in 1989 to our 299th win last season with Trevor Bayne in Texas, they all mean something. Along the way we’ve won multiple championships in all three NASCAR series, with Greg (Biffle) getting the first two and Matt Kenseth getting our first Cup championship in 2003.” Since founding the company in 1988, Jack Roush has seen the organization amass a record 299 victories. Roush Fenway currently boasts 125 Sprint Cup wins and is the winningest team in both NASCAR’s Nationwide and Truck series’. To properly commemorate the season, Roush Fenway will celebrate four specific areas vital to the organization’s success in 2012; performance, people, partners and innovation.
Speedway official: Judge overturned jury verdict
A Superior Court judge has overturned a jury verdict that would have forced New Hampshire Motor Speedway to pay nearly $1 million in damages to the Motor Racing Network, Inc., according to the speedway’s general manager. “We really feel like we went through the legal system and that justice was done,” Jerry Gappens, who also is the speedway’s executive vice president, said. In late September, a Merrimack County Superior Court ordered the speedway to pay Motor Racing Network $993,724 in damages for an alleged termination of a broadcasting agreement without three years’ notice. Judge Richard B. McNamara had ruled prior to the trial that the agreement between the parties was not an enforceable contract, but allowed the case to go to trial solely on the issue of whether New Hampshire Speedway made a promise to Motor Racing Network, that the radio broadcaster relied on that promise and incurred damages as a result of its being broken. The speedway immediately appealed the jury’s verdict to McNamara; on Thursday he reversed it, Gappens said. “I was stunned in September. I walked out of the courtroom in disbelief,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised today, but I’m certainly very pleased.” According to court records, Motor Racing Network broadcast races at the speedway from approximately 1990 through 2008. Speedway Motorsports Inc. bought the track in January 2008 and replaced Motor Racing Network with its own radio network, Performance Racing Network, according to court records.
Open testing for repaved tracks
NASCAR said there will be open tests at Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Kansas Speedway, all of which are being repaved this year. The sessions will occur a few weeks before the event or on the Thursday before the race.
From USA Today read further within the article for information.
No more ‘secret’ fines by NASCAR
UPDATE – NASCAR CEO Brian France said Thursday the sanctioning body still would fine its members for disparaging the sport in the wake of abolishing its policy of private punishments. “If you challenge the integrity of the sport, we’re going to deal with that,” France said. “What’s really interesting is I can’t tell you how many owners or drivers come up to me and say, ‘Thanks for doing that because some of these comments were irresponsible and unhelpful to growing the sport.’ Now having said that, you can be critical of things you don’t think we’re doing well, in particular a race call. You can say, ‘I don’t think I was speeding; I disagree with that.’ We understand that. It’s when you go after the integrity of the sport is where we will step in, and they will be public.” In the past two years, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman were punished for making comments (or in Hamlin’s case, posting on twitter) that NASCAR deemed detrimental to its brand. Keselowski privately was fined $25,000 for criticizing the switch to fuel injection during a fan forum at the NASCAR Hall of Fame last November. When news of the penalty leaked, it drew plenty of derision from fans and news media. “In terms of going public with it, we didn’t have a real strong position on that,” France said. “It seemed to bother some people in November when we talked about this. So we didn’t feel strongly (about the fines being private). If (making them public) is something that people think is a good thing, we were happy to do it.”
WIX Filters to sponsor Newman
WIX Filters announced plans to be the primary sponsor for Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing for four races during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series season. WIX Filters will debut its primary sponsorship of Newman and his #39 Chevy at the season kick-off Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 28. WIX will be Newman’s primary sponsor for three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup series events this year at Phoenix on March 4, Darlington on May 12 and Michigan on August 19. “Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing and their fans bring tremendous enthusiasm and excitement to the racing season,” said Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters. “We can’t wait to be onboard with them again in 2012. Our partnerships with Stewart-Haas Racing and Ryan have been some of our most successful in racing thanks to the support offered by the team and the way Ryan’s fans have embraced our brand.” WIX has been the Official Filter for Stewart-Haas Rcing since the team’s creation in 2009. In three starts with WIX Filters on the hood of the #39, Newman has three top-ten finishes a sixth-place effort at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2010, a third-place finish in last season’s Budweiser Shootout in Daytona International Speedway and a fifth-place effort at Michigan International Speedway in August 2011. “I’m excited to have WIX Filters back as a partner in 2012,” said Newman. “They have a great support program, find cool ways to get fans involved and most importantly provide us with superior filters to protect our engines.”
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29th
Wurth Group joins #2 as associate sponsor
Penske Racing welcomes a new partner to its NASCAR Nationwide series program in 2012 as the Wurth Group will sponsor the Dodge Challenger driven by Sam Hornish, Jr. The #12 Wurth Dodge will be featured as primary sponsor in seven races as it marks the beginning of a multi-year partnership between Wurth and Penske Racing. Wurth will also be an associate sponsor for the remaining twenty-six Nationwide series races and also as an associate sponsor of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Sprint Cup series. A leading supplier of high-quality automotive and industrial parts, cabinet supplies and fasteners, Wurth has more than 40,000 customers across the nation. With Wurth on board as a sponsor for 2012, Hornish and the #12 team will compete for the full Nationwide series season, racing with Alliance Truck Parts as a partner as well.
From Penske Racing
UPDATE – After only running a hand of events in the NASCAR Nationwide series in 2011, Sam Hornish Jr. will run the entire schedule in 2012 thanks to increased support from Alliance Truck Parts and a new Partnership with Wurth Group. Alliance Truck Parts will increase its primary sponsorship role on the #12 Penske Racing Dodge Challenger from six to twenty-six events in 2012. Wurth Group, a German-based automotive and industrial supply company, will be the primary sponsor of the car in seven events and an associate sponsor in the other twenty-six.
From Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour notes
Sad News – Harold Pearson
Harold D. Pearson, 78 of Chesterfield, VA passed away on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. He is survived by his loving wife, Diane C. Pearson; son, Christopher (Michelle) Pearson; sister Shirley (Jimmy) Mayes; granddaughters, Pauline and Nora; grandson, Atticus; and a niece, Jackie Putnam. Harold was a retired sportswriter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Richmond Animal League, 11401 International Dr., Richmond, VA 23236
From Richmond Times-Dispatch
Lanny Wadkins dealt with hundreds of journalists on a regular basis during his illustrious professional golf career. One of them, former Richmond Times-Dispatch staffer Harold Pearson, stood out to Wadkins. “I don’t think, with all of the sportswriters I’ve met or come across, I’ve ever felt like I trusted someone as much as I did Harlod,” Wadkins, a Richmond native, said. “He knew when I’d had a bad day, give me a little space. He understood. There aren’t many (sportswriters) I considered friends. I definitely considered Harold a friend.” Mr. Pearson, a Times-Dispatch sports staffer from 1965 to 1996, died Tuesday evening at 78 after a period of declining health. In addition to NASCAR and golf, sports on which his work focused, Mr. Pearson wrote about college and high school athletics. “During my time at the T-D, Harold was an integral part of our sports coverage,” said Bill Millsaps, Times-Dispatch sports editor from 1973 to 1991. “He had good contacts in his areas of responsibility golf and NASCAR and he used them to educate and entertain our readers.” Millsaps added that Mr. Pearson “was a kind and caring man,” a compliment seconded by Wadkins. For decades, Mr. Pearson reported on elite professional golf events, and is remembered by Wadkins as “someone who cared about the game of golf. More importantly, he cared about the people he wrote about, which made him truly special. “He left a nice legacy, he really did.” Following his time at the Times-Dispatch, Mr. Pearson edited Virginia Golfer, the official publication of the Virginia State Golf Association.
From Richmond Times-Dispatch
Harold Pearson was part of the “in crowd” in NASCAR when I first showed up at Daytona in 1980. He was a good friend of recent Hall of Fame inductee Tom Higgins, then the dean of stock car sports writers, and his close corhort, Steve Waid, also a Hall of Famer in my book. These guys knew just about everything there was to know about what was then a southern sport. They knew the drivers, crew chiefs, car owners and most of the secrets. To become a functioning writer in those days, you had to get to know the insiders and, somehow, become one of them. Harold Pearson, who worked for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was one of the first of that crowd to accept me as a colleague and give me the kind of guidance that I needed. He was a fine writer and, beyond that, Harold was fun to be around.
From Mike Harris/Racin Today
Hendrick says deal with #51 team doesn’t circumvent four-team cap
Rick Hendrick bristled at the suggestion that his Hendrick Motorsports team might be seen as gaining an unfair advantage through its relationship with #51 Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch. Hendrick, who says Finch has been a “good friend and a good engine customer” through the years, scoffed at the idea that the single-car team is a satellite operation of his own four-team program and might be seen as a fifth entry for the ten-time championship group. “Every car he runs, he owns, “Hendrick said of Finch. “Every motor he gets, he pays for.” Phoenix Racing is a single-car operation in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series, and has typically fielded cars for select evetns each season. The Spartanburg, SC-based team, which has purchased chassis and leased engines from Hendrick in the past, did compete in all thirty-six races in 2011, however, with four drivers. Now that Kurt Busch, the 2004 Cup champion, has joined the #51 team, Hendrick said the change could result in a move to a more proven product as far as engines are concerned. Since 2006, NASCAR has allowed team owners to field no more than four full-time teams, with an exception for an organization that seeks to field a fifth car on a limited basis for an up-and-coming driver. Organizations such as Hendrick, Richard Childress Racing and Roush Fenway Racing (through its Roush Yates Engines group) provide such assistance, at a price. In return, in addition to any monetary profits (such as any vendor would receive) such programs can provide feedback and validation for the hardware being supplied. Owners cannot receive financial consideration based on the performance of those cars to which they provide services, and they may not have an ownership stake in the team or teams. NASCAR can ask to look at contracts and other financial documentation that show the pricing is legitimate.
From Scene Daily
Allmendinger wins Rolex 24 at Daytona
On his ninth attempt, team owner Michael Shank finally captured America’s most prestigious sports car race, the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team of Oswaldo Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson in the #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley survived a tight battle for the lead in the final hours to take home the grueling twice-around-the-clock challenge. Finishing a few seconds behind the #60 Ford was the pole-winning #8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley and Ryan Dalziel, Alex Popow, Lucas Luhr, Allan McNish and Enzo Potolicchio. Shank Racing took the final spot on the podium with the #6 Ford Riley with Michael McDowell, Jorge Concalvez, Gustavo Yacaman and Sunoco Rolex 24 Driver Challenge winner Felipe Nasr. In the competitive GT class, the #44 Magnus Racing Porosch with John Potter, Andy Lally, Richard Lietz and Rene Rast were victorious.
From Daytona International Speedway
As we realign the daily and weekly feature of News and Views, this volume covers January 24th through January 29th. And the weekly feature will now run from Monday through Sunday. Next week’s volume 11 will begin with Monday, January 30th’s news.
As always, Thanks for reading and participating.