Steven B. Wilson
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As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Kyle Busch Foundation (KBF) announced today plans for its Second Annual Project Pink: Protect Your Pair initiative, which will help raise money and awareness for breast cancer patients undergoing treatment in North Carolina.
With nearly 20% of women living in North Carolina having no health insurance coverage, many families in our community are forced to make tough decisions - pay a mortgage payment or pay for a round of chemotherapy. The goal of the Project Pink: Protect Your Pair initiative is to help take the worry out of making those decisions and relieve the stress on those families, so that they can thrive.
The KBF will once again partner with the Pretty in Pink Foundation, a Raleigh, N.C.-based foundation whose mission is to provide financial assistance to its uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients in active treatment, regardless of their ability to pay, for this year's project. Last year's inaugural collaboration between the two foundations began with a goal of being able to pay the medical bills for 12 "Champions" in North Carolina, but the overwhelming support of the project raised enough funds, over $144,000, to successfully pay the medical bills for 48 patients.
"The support we received from Kyle's fans and corporate partners last year during our inaugural Project Pink initiative was overwhelming and it allowed the Kyle Busch Foundation to relieve the stress that goes along with the financial burden of the medical bills associated with breast cancer for over 40 families in North Carolina," said Samantha Busch of the Kyle Busch Foundation. "Everyone that helps out with our foundation and all the great people at the Pretty in Pink Foundation have been working extremely hard since last year's event to ensure that this year's project generates more awareness and raises more funds so that we can continue to help our neighbors that are fighting this terrible disease."
Penny Lauricella, MHA and Executive Director at the Pretty In Pink Foundation offered, "Our supporters are essential to realizing our mission of providing financial assistance to breast cancer patients with treatment and surgical needs. Without the continued support of Kyle and Samantha Busch and the entire Kyle Busch Foundation, our bigger vision of having a point of presence in every state by 2020, wouldn't be possible. Last year's October race event was magical for our Pretty In Pink Foundation Champions. It was a night, like no other, and one they will never forget."
The KBF will raise awareness and funds via several activities planned throughout the month of October, including:
- Fans can make a monetary donation direct to the Project Pink: Protect Your Pair campaign by visiting www.KyleBuschFoundation.org
- The KBF have a one-of-a-kind custom hat and t-shirt available online at www.KyleBuschFoundation.org in which 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Pretty in Pink Foundation
- Kyle and Samantha Busch will host a private fundraising dinner and silent auction with corporate partners, in uptown Charlotte on Wednesday, Oct. 8
- A mobile mammogram screening unit, courtesy of Novant Health, and the No. 51 ToyotaCare/Project Pink Tundra show truck will appear at Joe Gibbs Racing partner One Main Financial's Mooresville Plaza location (539 E. Plaza Dr.; Mooresville, N.C. 28115) from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9 with Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Erik Jones signing autographs from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET
- A mobile mammogram screening unit, courtesy of Novant Health, will also be available to NASCAR fans in the Kyle Busch Foundation area at Joe Gibbs Racing's Fan Fest in Huntersville, N.C. on Friday, Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET
- Kyle Busch's No. 54 Monster Energy Camry will feature a custom "Project Pink" scheme for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Friday, Oct. 10 and the KBF will host "Champions" through the Pretty in Pink Foundation during the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a fun night of entertainment
- Through a generous donation from Toyota Racing, the Pretty in Pink Foundation will have exhibit space throughout race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway to distribute information regarding awareness and will also host an autograph session at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 with Samantha Busch and Kyle Busch Motorsports NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr.
Danica Patrick had plenty of reasons to smile through the last few weeks.
She has finished 19th or better in five of her last seven starts, including a career-best finish of sixth Labor Day Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Patrick has qualified 18th or better in the last four races and the team is running better than it ever has.
In fact, the only reason not to smile is that rain postponed some of the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) four-team test this week at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway as they look to get even better.
But, for Patrick, she knows this is the week she and the crew chief Tony Gibson-led team head to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City for the second time this season. And she is hoping they can pick up right where they left off in May.
Patrick started seventh and finished ninth – one of only two times in her career she has started and finished in the top-10, with the other being the 2013 Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where she started on the pole and finished eighth.
She ran well throughout the whole night at Kansas last May and was as high as third late in the race before finishing seventh.
When Patrick comes back to Kansas, her No. 10 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS for SHR will be a familiar one.
She will use Chassis No. 10-838, the same car she used during her historic sixth-place run at Atlanta.
That sixth-place finish is the highest finish by a female at Atlanta. The previous record was Janet Guthrie’s 10th-place finish on March 19, 1978. Only a fifth-place result by Sara Christian in a Sprint Cup race on Oct. 2, 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway tops Patrick’s finish. Christian also finished sixth at Langhorne (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949 and Guthrie finished sixth at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 28, 1977.
Though she ended up one spot behind Christian’s record at Atlanta, it was Patrick’s third top-10 of the year to go with her seventh at Kansas in May and eighth in July at Daytona. If she scores one more top-10 in 2014, she will tie Guthrie, who had four in 1977.
Patrick is hoping that comes at Kansas, where she has run well in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the IndyCar Series, as well.
She raced there twice in the Nationwide Series and never started or finished lower than 15th. And, in IndyCar, she won the pole in 2005 and finished fifth in 2009.
In a rare change from her normal green racecar, Patrick’s machine this weekend will sport the blue and white colors of Aspen Dental, one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of dental care providers in the U.S. with more than 460 locations in communities across 28 states, providing millions of Americans with access to quality, affordable dental care.
Every Aspen Dental practice offers a full range of dental services – including comprehensive exams, cleanings, extractions, dentures, fillings, periodontal treatment, whitening, oral surgery, crown and bridge work.
Patrick is hoping she and the No. 10 team will have something to smile about after Kansas.
No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers speaks of several objectives he’d like to reach in the final seven races of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
But, the primary goal is simple:
In their first full year together, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver and team climbed to eighth in points entering the June Dover race. After a frustrating summer the team recently rekindled the momentum that once made it a Chase contender.
BRIAN VICKERS ON 2014 GOALS: “We want to win. That’s why we show up every weekend. Everyone on the Aaron’s Dream Machine has done a great job. We had a great start to the season. We were top 10 in points and at Dover we had mechanical problems leaving us with a 43rd-place finish. We had a problem the next weekend and started losing our momentum. The wind got sucked out of our sails and it was frustrating. It was a tough summer.
“The guys have been doing a great job building new cars and toward the end of the summer we started getting faster and faster. That showed leading 15 laps at New Hampshire. The only thing missing from our season is that win. We are more than competitive enough to be racing in the Chase, but we aren't. It’s our first year as a team. I am really proud of some of the runs we have had and we’ve made some mistakes, myself included. We learned from those mistakes and plan to use that knowledge to win some races this year then take that momentum into next year and race for a championship.”
Leavine Family Racing will finish up the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season competing in six of the final seven races on the schedule. Michael McDowell will pilot the No. 95 Ford at Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.
“This is an important stretch of races for us,” said McDowell. “We have an opportunity to build our data and information to prepare for the 2015 season. This season has really been about perseverance for us. We’ve had a steady course of action and have worked hard to continue on that path in spite of challenges.”
Leavine Family Racing’s two best finishes this season have come at a superspeedway (seventh at Daytona) and a short track (18th at Bristol). The mile and a half tracks have proven a challenge for the team and Kansas will be an important race to further develop the team’s intermediate race program.
“We’re looking forward to the race weekend and excited to be racing six out of the last seven events on the schedule,” said crew chief Wally Rogers. “Our team had a good test at Kansas earlier this year where we learned a lot and we’ll be looking to put that information to good use this weekend.”
McDowell’s best finish at Kansas Speedway came in 2007 in the ARCA RE/MAX Series when he finished 11th in that event on his way to a second-place finish in the overall points standings.
KLOVE will be the primary sponsor at Kansas Speedway on the No. 95 Ford. On Thursday, McDowell will meet local race fans at Path To Victory classic car show and motorcycle corral event at Frederick Blvd. Baptist in St. Joe. The event is from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. local; more information can be found at www.FrederickBoulevard.com.
We don’t get to advance to the championship, but we can still run for pride and for wins.”
Those were the words of a visibly disappointed Kurt Busch following last weekend’s race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Despite putting up a valiant fight, Busch and his No. 41 Haas Automation team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) fell a scant six points shy of advancing to the second round of the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, ending the Las Vegas native’s bid for his second title.
So, the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion has one thing in mind for these next seven races – to put his black-and-red No. 41 Haas Automation Chevy up front and in victory lane.
As Busch said, his team is now racing for pride and for wins. He wants to collect as many trophies as possible to close out this 2014 season, and winning Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City is the first step.
In 17 starts at Kansas, Busch earned one pole in June 2011, one top-five and four top-10 finishes. While the 1.5-mile oval hasn’t been one of his best tracks, he did collect his career-best finish – a second-place effort – at the track last fall.
And, that’s just the kind of performance Busch wants to have this weekend.
A breakthrough victory at Kansas would add to the list of mile-and-a-half successes the Las Vegas native has experienced in his career. He’s won at four of the eight mile-and-a-half venues at which the Sprint Cup Series competes – Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The remaining 1.5-mile racetracks where Busch is still searching for victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series are Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, his home track Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Kansas.
While Busch and his No. 41 Haas Automation team may be on the outside looking in at this season’s championship chase, they still have goals to achieve. They still have races to win. Ove the next seven weekends, Busch wants to prove that his team is the best of the rest.
Kasey Kahne is familiar with the curbs in the turns at Martinsville Speedway. He’s raced around them, and sometimes over them, for a decade.
Wednesday he got a different view of those curbs as he helped 10 breast cancer survivors paint a section of them pink in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“Our curbs are famous in the sport. They are iconic,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “So it is fitting that we paint them pink for such a great cause.”
“It’s a pretty tough curb,” said Kahne, speaking from experience.
The curbs will be pink for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 weekend Oct. 24-26.
Chevrolet also rolled out the pink Chevrolet SS Sedan pace car that will be used for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500. It is part of a larger program sponsored by Chevrolet that includes a contribution of $250 for every lap the pace car leads under caution during the race.
“Last year we had 111 caution laps in the October race here,” said Jeff Chew, marketing manager for Chevrolet’s racing program. “I hate to say keep it up, Clay (Campbell), but keep it up and we’ll generate some money.”
This is Chevrolet’s fourth year of raising money for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®. To date Chevy’s efforts have netted more than $3 million.
“It’s always neat to see the pace car leading the race under caution and know we are raising money for breast cancer awareness,” said Kahne.
Once the brushes were put away Wednesday, Kahne took some time to talk racing, the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and the upcoming Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500.
He struggled a bit in the first two races of Chase, but bounced back with a strong effort Sunday to advance to the Contender Round. He and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., all advanced and Kahne says that has the entire company excited.
“I think it’s going to be a great race weekend (at Martinsville). There’s going to be a lot on the line,” said Kahne, who has three top-five finishes to his credit at Martinsville along with one pole victory. “All the Hendrick cars tested here, so we feel good about what we are bringing back. Hopefully we’ll all have some really good speed here.”
Martinsville Speedway PR
Richard Childress Racing has named Slugger Labbe to a leading role in their research and development efforts, which will be effective following the NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway later this month. Justin Alexander, currently a race engineer on the No. 27 Menards Chevrolet team, will take over the crew chief role with Paul Menard as the driver.
Alexander, 33, is a native of Charlotte and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina State University.
He started his NASCAR career at Hendrick Motorsports as the shock specialist for the No. 24 and No. 48 teams in 2003, became lead engineer on the No. 48 team in 2005, moved to a R&D engineer in 2006 and then was named lead engineer for the No. 24 team in 2009.
During his tenure there, Alexander was part of five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. He joined RCR in January of this year.
"I appreciate the opportunity RCR is giving me to lead the No. 27 team and Paul," Alexander said. "Working with Slugger has been a valuable learning experience and I appreciate him helping me make the transition into this new role.
"I'm really excited to work with Paul and all the guys on this Menards team. Paul is a talented driver and I'm looking forward to what this team can accomplish in 2015."
Labbe has been with RCR since 2010 as crew chief for Menard. Together, they earned a victory in the 2011 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 13 top-five and 43 top-10 finishes.
A native of Saco, Maine, Labbe has been in NASCAR since 1986 and in the crew chief capacity since 1998. During that time, Labbe worked at Robert Yates Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. It was at DEI when Labbe led Michael Waltrip to the 2003 Daytona 500 victory.
"I'm looking forward to slowing down in my NASCAR career a little bit and spending more time with my family," Labbe said. "This is a good move for RCR, Paul and the No. 27 team and I'm going to be there to help Justin with the upcoming transition.
"With NASCAR's new rules for 2015, this is a unique opportunity for me to help RCR grow and be successful by helping out with their R&D efforts."
Menard, the 34-year old native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin is currently 20th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Points standings.
"Slugger is a great leader and will be a huge asset in making RCR stronger in his new role with the team," he said. "I am looking forward to working with Justin. Throughout this season, he has shown the qualities and potential to be a great crew chief."
With NASCAR’s home to history as a backdrop, members of the Contender Round discussed the perils that face them over the next three weeks.
Brad Keselowski, who finished the recently completed Challenger Round first in points, described this upcoming round thusly: “You look at this round, the Contender Round with Kansas, and you've got Talladega at the end. … Two of the three races are as much of a wild card as you can get in NASCAR racing these days. I think when we get all said and done, and it comes to Homestead and the champion’s crown, whoever wins it will have earned it.”
This was Contender Media Day, a two-hour program held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to set up the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The three tracks that will test the versatility of all 12 Contenders: Kansas Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
Hosted by ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, drivers still in contention for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship recapped the thrilling Challenger Round and looked ahead to the 12-driver three-race Contender Round which starts Sunday at Kansas (2 p.m. ET on ESPN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Wednesday’s media day, streamed live on NASCAR.com, was the first of its kind under the revamped Chase format. Starting this season, the Chase is broken down into four rounds. After each of the first three rounds – each consisting of three races – four drivers are eliminated, setting up a four-driver finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The first to the finish line among the remaining four contenders at Homestead will win the title.
And speaking of Miami, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship race just got bigger. Announced today during Contender Media Day, country music superstar Jason Aldean will perform a pre-race concert in the infield prior to the start of the race (Sunday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The elephant in the room during today’s media sessions: Talladega Superspeedway, now a cut-off race. Always a wild card in the previous 10 editions of the Chase, it is even more so under this revamped format.
“It will be interesting to see how Talladega plays out from the guys that have a good lead going into the last race, whether they're going to maybe try to hang back,” said Denny Hamlin. “Then you'll have a group that's going to want to be aggressive and lead laps, so it will be very interesting to see how the final Chase cutoff race for this round plays out.”
The National Motorsports Appeals Panel today heard and considered the appeal of the No. 20 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. The hearing concerned penalty notices issued by NASCAR on Sept. 17 to team owner Bob Newberry and crew chief Chris Rice for a rules infraction that occurred during post-race inspection Sept. 13 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The infraction was a P2 level penalty with reference to the following sections in the 2014 rule book:
· 12-1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
· 20B-12.8: Truck failed to meet post-race body height/ground clearance requirements
After hearing and reviewing the evidence presented and after deliberations, the National Motorsports Appeals Panel finds that the team did violate the rule(s) set forth in the penalty notice and upholds the original penalties levied by NASCAR, which was a $7,500 fine, suspension (from NASCAR for the next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event), and probation for Rice. It also included the loss of 10 series championship owner points for Newberry.
The hearing consisted of the following Appeals Panel Members: Bill Lester, Dale Pinilis, and Jay Signore.
The team has the right under Section 15 of the rule book to appeal this decision to the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.