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GOODBYE, GORDON

Chevrolet Thursday, the fourth and final day of the 33rd annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, was an emotional one.

For the last time, Jeff Gordon talked about his expectations for the upcoming season. Hendrick Motorsports owner, Rick Hendrick, said he couldn’t put into words what Gordon has meant to him throughout the years. With Gordon entering his final season, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Chase Elliot will take Gordon’s place on the team beginning in 2016.

“I’m just so thankful to Rick,” Gordon said. “I mean, he gave me a chance, you know – I was a young kid – to be a part of this organization. And to know that I’ve always driven for him throughout my whole career and the success that we’ve had together and the friendship, partnership, a lot of great, great moments. I just couldn’t be more thankful.”

Gordon cited a combination of reasons for deciding to retire from full-time racing after this season, ranging from spending more time with his kids to issues with his back. He said he has known for several years that the end would be soon for him. His success on the track in 2014 made him even surer that he wanted to call it quits, though. Gordon is happy to go out knowing that he can still race at a high level.

“It showed me I still got it,” Gordon said of his success in 2014. “You can be late in your career and still go out there and get it done and be competitive. So it’s motivated me to be that much better this year and really, truly go out on top.”

After Gordon’s final checkered flag has waved, the 2014 XFINITY Series Champion, Chase Elliott, will round out Hendrick’s four-man Sprint Cup team, though he said he could never “replace” Gordon. Elliot said he is happy to have Gordon’s approval moving forward, and that he will drive the No. 24 car, per Gordon’s request.

“It made me even more excited to be a part of it next year,” Elliot said. “And to have him (Gordon) involved, as well, I think he’s going to be a huge involvement next year and for many years to come. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from him; he’s a guy that there’s a lot to be learned from, so hopefully I can make the most of that.”

It isn’t often that Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. take a back seat around the press, but they did Thursday. Earnhardt has a new crew chief in 2015, Grev Ives, and said he is ready to hit the ground running with his new partner. Johnson said his 2014 season wasn’t good enough, as he was unable to advance out of the second round of the reformatted Chase, and hopes to get back to his championship standards in 2015. Kasey Kahne is also welcoming a new crew chief this year, Keith Rodden.

Expectations couldn’t be higher for Hendrick Motorsports’ 2015 season, as Hendrick said he believes this year will be unbelievable for his team and the most competitive the sport has ever seen.

A FRESH START

On and off the track, Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. said 2014 was a season he’s ready to put behind him.

From struggles finding the consistency his team needs to contend on a weekly basis on the track to watching longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex fight through ovarian cancer off the track, last year was an emotional rollercoaster for the 34-year-old, Mayetta, New Jersey native.

But like every race season, 2015 offers a blank slate – a new start on all fronts.

Pollex completed her last chemotherapy treatment on Monday and appears to be on the road to recovery.

“It seems like every day she’s getting more back to normal and it’s only been four days,” Truex said during his team’s media availability during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. “It’s been a tough road; it’s obviously had some challenges. All in all, she did an amazing job. She’s special. The way she was able to get through it, like no one has ever done before, was impressive and inspiring. It’s going to make me work harder this year, that’s for sure.”

Helping Truex reach his goals on the track will be new crew chief Cole Pearn. While Pearn is new to the position, Furniture Row Racing has been grooming him for several seasons to sit atop the pit box.

Pearn, who previously served as the team’s lead engineer, said crew chief is a job he’s been preparing for his entire life. Growing up, his father raced. Pearn got his start in go karts at an early age. As he progressed through the racing ranks, he became more and more interested in learning as much as he could about the cars. The crew chief job, he said, is the natural next step.

“It’s something we’ve kind of been preparing for the last few years,” Pearn said. “I’ve been trying to take steps beforehand to be prepared. Honestly it’s just making the final transition. I’m looking forward to it.”

And Pearn won’t be on an island as he takes the next step in his racing career. Furniture Row Racing’s partnership with Richard Childress Racing began paying dividends late last season, Truex said, and promises to help the Denver, Colorado-based team make strides forward in 2015 as well.

“I don’t see us as a one-car team, really,” Truex said. “We have teammates with RCR and their other allied teams and I think that really worked well for us last year. Because of things we did that we didn’t do well or we didn’t do right, we couldn’t take advantage of that team atmosphere but I thought it really worked well if we can do things right, and we started to see that at the end of the season. I feel like the teams worked well.”

ONE CAUTION FLAG SHORT

Richard Childress Racing will field seven full-time teams in 2015: three Sprint Cup and four XFINITY Series cars. In the Sprint Cup Series, Austin Dillon returns after finishing second for Rookie of the Year, Paul Menard goes into his fourth season with RCR and Ryan Newman will try to make his way back into the Chase, after narrowly missing out on last year’s championship despite never winning a race. Newman finished second behind Kevin Harvick at the season’s title race in Homestead.

“We were one caution flag short,” team owner Richard Childress said when asked about Newman’s 2014 campaign during Chevrolet Thursday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. “But that was history; we’re looking at the future. We all know we have to win races to get in the Chase and that’s our goal.”

Newman obviously wishes he could have brought home the gold last year, but said he had never had so much fun while not winning races. He feels like his team grew and experienced a lot in 2014 and talked about how much fun it was building the relationships that he did.

“We did the best we possibly could and came up a little bit short, but I have no regrets about any part of it,” Newman said. “I think we all did an awesome job to get to where we were. Our theory was always fight and we never quit fighting and we never will. I know that if and when we win, it’s going to be spectacular.”

Second-year driver Austin Dillon is glad to have his first year in the books and wants to step his game up in year two. Dillon was under a lot of pressure driving the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet in 2014 but feels like he has moved past it and is ready for what’s ahead.

“This year, I think we’ve got to start getting crazy,” he said. “I think we’ve got to make things happen. We need to be in the Chase; we need to be a part of the chaos at the end of the year. I think having that rookie year and that experience has allowed us to now go out and compete and really start making a name for our team and our crew. It’s time to make a fire.”

Paul Menard will drive the third car for RCR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but will also compete part-time in the XFINITY Series in the No. 33 car along with Austin Dillon and Brandon Jones. Austin’s younger brother, Ty Dillon, is entering his second season in the XFINITY series. Brendan Gaughan and Brian Scott will both drive full-time as well, completing RCR’s four-car XFINITY Series squad in 2015.

It was also announced that Grainger will be the primary sponsor of Newman’s no. 31 car and WIX Filters has come back to be a sponsor of Newman’s again.

BUILDING ON MOMENTUM

There are moments during the course every season that can provide a boost or shot in the arm to a driver or team. For Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, that moment might have come before the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season has even gotten underway.

Cup drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson helped CGR win the Rolex 24 at Daytona last weekend. The victory not only earned everyone their own Rolex wristwatch – which they displayed proudly during Chevrolet Thursday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom – but it etched McMurray’s name into the record books. McMurray became only the third driver in history to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Daytona 500, joining Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt as the only other drivers to do so.

“I never had the dream of winning the Rolex 24, so to have that chance is big. It’s probably my favorite race and the one I look most forward to,” said McMurray. “It’s a great opportunity to bond and really come together as a team.”

McMurray is hoping that the win will help the team gain a significant amount of momentum as the 2015 NASCAR season nears. McMurray finished 2014 earning four of his seven top-fives in the final 10 races of the season, while Larson closed out his season with five finishes of sixth or better over the final 10 races en route to being named Rookie of the Year.

“I’m so happy I’m a part of Chip’s team. They make it a lot of fun to drive for them,” said Larson. “Hopefully 2015 goes a lot better than last year. I’d like to get a couple wins and go for a championship.”

Sabates echoed those sentiments.

“I’ve never guaranteed anybody anything in all the years I’ve been in racing,” said Sabates, “but I’m going to guarantee both of these guys are going to make the Chase.”

QUOTES OF THE DAY

“It’s kind of hard to come to the podium after Chip (Ganassi) because he said pretty much everything that can be said about the racing operation. So I’m here today to talk about Cuba.”
- CGR co-team owner and Cuban-born Felix Sabates

“To everyone’s surprise, I did miss a left-hand turn.”
-Jimmie Johnson explaining why he got lost during a recent half-Ironman

CMS PR

For the third consecutive year,NASCAR fans can take a one-of-a-kind ride to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway with the Raceway Fun Train.

The raceway will partner with Key Holidays to offer an express train that will transport fans directly from the Sacramento area to the raceway on race day, Sunday, June 28.  The train will depart from Sacramento, with stops in Davis and Suisun City, and traverse some of Northern California’s most spectacular scenery before dropping passengers just steps from the raceway’s main entrance.

Race fans should act fast, as this year’s train is expected to be a sellout. Last year’s train was a huge success, and we are pleased to utilize the SMART-owned track to bring back the Raceway Fun Train.

“The train to NASCAR has been a resounding success in its first two years,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “Our fans have told us it turned their race experience into a full day’s adventure, and they can’t wait to board the train again this June.”

The Raceway Fun Train, formerly the NASCAR Express, offers fans a unique alternative to avoid highway traffic and parking hassles on race-day, and will feature café cars with on-board food and beverage service. The train is also a great option for small and large groups to enjoy the entire NASCAR race-day experience together.

“I loved riding the NASCAR train for the second year in a row,” said Eric Ruud of Sparks, Nev. “I invited a bunch of my friends to join me and we had a blast. They were envious last year when the train passed them as they sat in traffic.”

It’s a one-stop shop to purchase your race-day ticket and Raceway Fun Train pass. The $199 premium package includes:

·         A reserved-seat in the Main Grandstand

·         Round-trip travel from Sacramento, Davis or Suisun

·         VIP main-gate entry

·         On-track access to driver introduction and pre-race ceremonies

·         Commemorative gift

Key Holidays has served as an Amtrak Regional Tour Operator for 32 years, including the famous Reno Fun Train. As a partner on the Raceway Fun Train for the second consecutive year, Key Holidays will also offer pre- and/or post-event hotel packages in Sacramento. For more information, visit www.keyholidays.com.

Don’t miss your chance to get onboard the Raceway Fun Train to Sonoma Raceway. The Toyota/Save Mart 350 marks Jeff Gordon’s final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Sonoma and NASCAR’s only stop in Northern California. It has become one of the most exciting and unpredictable events on the circuit as tempers flare on the road course’s tight turns.

Seats are limited, so for more information on the Raceway Fun Train or to purchase your ticket package today, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit www.racesonoma.com/nascar. Operation and schedule subject to change by railroads and track or weather conditions.

Sonoma Raceway PR

MIS Tickets on sale Monday

Written by
Published in Speedway News
Thursday, 29 January 2015 09:02

Tickets, campsites and travel packages for all Michigan International Speedway events, including both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends, Michigan Wine and Beer Fest presented by Experience Jackson and Faster Horses Festival, are on sale Monday.

“The 2015 season at MIS is lining up to be action packed and offer something for everyone from the Michigan Wine and Beer Fest, two NASCAR racing weekends and the Faster Horses Festival,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “From May to August, we are going to have a huge party each month here in the beautiful Irish Hills. The 2014 season featured some fantastic racing, awesome music, plenty of Michigan wines and beers and a lifetime of memories. We cannot wait for the season to start and welcome fans back to MIS to one or all of our great events this summer.”

The speedway has a fun and diverse lineup for race fans and festival goers alike, starting with the Michigan Wine and Beer Festival presented by Experience Jackson on Saturday, May 9. Tickets are $30 and include $10 in tasting tokens.

The track then hosts the first of two NASCAR weekends June 12-14 with the Corrigan Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series on Friday, June 12, NASCAR XFINITY Series on Saturday, June 13 and the Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, June 14.

Then, Faster Horses Festival will return for the third year July 17-19. This year’s three-day lineup of headliners includes Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. For tickets and campsites and a listing of all acts over the three day festival, visit www.fasterhorsesfestival.com.

The Sprint Cup Series will wind up its summertime stint at MIS on Sunday, August 16 with the Pure Michigan 400. The Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation & Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation is on Saturday, August 15.

The track will continue to keep ticket prices low for 2015. Race fans who purchase early will have the best prices and the best seats. Tickets for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race start at $37, with children 12 and under free in certain sections, ensuring families a chance to see NASCAR at affordable prices. Guests can camp all week long for one price, starting at $145.

The speedway will also continue its junior pricing program where kids 13-16 are half price in reserve seats.

Visit www.MISpeedway.com for a complete listing of events and to buy tickets and camping today.

And if you want a turn-key option to help you make arrangements, PrimeSport is offering official Quicken Loans 400 travel packages and Pure Michigan 400 travel packages that include: two or three-night hotel accommodations, round-trip transfers to the race and airport, official welcome gifts, PrimeSport credential holder and lanyard, breakfast at the hotel and premium race tickets (with upgrades available). Each package is customizable and can be fit to a fan’s specific needs.

For more information on the Official Travel Packages for races at Michigan International Speedway, visit PrimeSport.com.

Lastly, visit www.MIScamping.com for a one-stop camping option for all events. This year, Faster Horses guests can also get camping help.

MIS PR

AFTER ROLLERCOASTER 2014 SEASON, SHR LOOKING FORWARD

There wasn’t much room to spare as NASCAR’s most captivating team, Stewart-Haas Racing, made its way to the stage during the second day of the 33rd annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom.

More than 200 credentialed print, radio and television media piled into the press conference room at the Charlotte Convention Center, as team co-owner/driver Tony Stewart, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch sat side-by-side with co-owner Gene Haas. The 2014 season was both celebratory and demanding, as a myriad of on- and off-track issues put the SHR team in the spotlight for most of the year.

“I’m not happy about the last two years of my life,” said Stewart. “It’s given me more drive and desire to get back to the old form that our fans and sponsors are used to seeing us in. This is probably the most prepared I’ve been in a while for a season.”

Should Stewart get back to championship form then it will likely be his championship teammate that he’ll be chasing down. Coming off of the first Sprint Cup title of his career, Harvick is ready to build off his championship season and into a true perennial contender.

“There’s a sense of responsibility for the sport, as the champion, to make sure that you represent the sport and do the things you need to in order to grow the sport,” said Harvick. “It is way more fun to win the championship than to lose it. That’s motivation in itself (to try and win it again). You want to move forward and keep doing your job the best that you can.”

A similar mantra is coming out of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com camp. About to begin her third full season in the Cup Series, Patrick has a new crew chief in Daniel Knost, but she doesn’t anticipate changing much about her approach to racing.

“Really to continue with the things that were happening and the improvements made in the areas that I was looking to improve,” said Patrick. “It’s also to develop new relationships. With a new crew chief we need to get to know each other, so I’ll be putting a lot of hard work into getting our communication going. After that, it’s picking up where I left off (last year) with crew chief Tony Gibson.”

Gibson is now on top of the pit box for Busch. Put together for the final three races of 2014, the two had instant chemistry with Busch averaging an 8.7 finish with two top-10s over that stretch.

“We want to continue to build off the success we had from 2014, winning a race and making the Chase, but that’s not what we’re here to do,” said Busch. “We’re here to shoot for a championship. We want to build on the team’s chemistry, using those last three races with Tony; those are the types of races we know we are capable of putting together.”

MWR PUTS 2014 IN REARVIEW

Suffice it to say, the 2014 season was a difficult one, both on and off the track for Michael Waltrip Racing. Not only did both its drivers – Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers – fail to qualify for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, but Vickers had a major setback in his bout with heart issues. Around the Thanksgiving holiday, Vickers went from attending a photo shoot for his primary sponsor, Aaron’s, to the emergency surgery table.

“It was a pretty traumatic event and definitely the worst of all the medical issues I’ve had to face,” said Vickers, whose career has been marred by medical issues since the 2010 season. “I was able to make it through… and the recovery process was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. But I had really good care and tremendous support from my family and this team.”

Back on track with his recovery, Vickers will return behind the wheel of the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota on March 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In the meantime, team owner Michael Waltrip will be in the pilot’s seat for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, while 22-year-old Brett Moffitt will take the reins at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1.

“He’s been doing a lot of testing for our team and has won a lot of K&N (Pro Series East) races for our team,” said Waltrip. “And he was the driver that everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing wanted to be in that car at Atlanta. We know how much he’s helped us … and we’re going to reward him for all that work with a chance to drive a winning race car.”

Getting back to victory lane is a priority for MWR this season, especially with the new Chase Grid format. That’s somewhere Bowyer hasn’t been in more than two seasons. But with a revived team focus and structural changes to some behind-the-scenes faces, MWR expects big things in 2015.

“There’s no need to sugarcoat anything. Last year (stunk) – for all of us,” said Bowyer. “I love what I’m seeing at the shop. We’ve made some internal changes and I think our cars are headed in the right direction. I’m ready to get to the racetrack.”

“This will be our ninth season, so we’re trying to build one of the most competitive teams in the sport,” said team owner Rob Kauffman. “We’re committed to winning. It’s not a goal for us, it’s an expectation.”

ROAD COURSE RINGER

After winning for the first time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014, A.J. Allmendinger and JTG Daugherty Racing are ready to have even more success in 2015. With a win at Watkins Glen, Allmendinger qualified for the Chase, but was unable to advance to the second round. The whole team is focused on getting better and being able to compete well at every track.

“He’s a road-course ringer,” crew chief Brian Burns said of Allmendinger. “This year is our turn to make sure that we’re consistent at all the tracks we go to. Our biggest focus is being consistent. We know that being part of a championship team, everywhere that you unload, you want to have the expectations that you can win.”

Allmendinger is happy to have his first win in the books, but also emphasized performing better at non-road course tracks. He said he needs to do a better job of qualifying and restarting at the more traditional tracks. The overall feeling is that his team is headed in the right direction, though.

“When we run our best,” he said, “you know we can compete in the top 10. And that’s what we’ve got to do consistently a lot more.”

SOPHOMORE SQUAD

HScott Motorsports is excited to add a second car to the team, welcoming Michael Annett and his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Annett and fellow sophomore teammate Justin Allgaier will make up the two-car squad in 2015. Allgaier was the lone HScott driver in 2014 and is happy to have a teammate this year.

“I think having a teammate is paramount to have somebody that you can bounce ideas off of and compare to on a race weekend,” said Allgaier. “Last year we were kind of on our own island. We weren’t able to really push the envelope because we were so focused on working and trying to learn.”

Annett said he is definitely a little nervous heading into 2015, but is certainly ready for the challenge that will be his second year on the circuit. Team owner Harry Scott is excited to have Annett aboard, but also admitted it has been a bit hectic putting everything together so quickly. The team is still searching for a crew chief – and even a car number – for Annett and hopes to find a veteran to help the second-year driver.

“Someone with some experience in the Cup Series is going to be huge,” said Annett, when asked about what he’s looking for in a crew chief. “There aren’t any rookie strikes left on the card, but obviously still just my sophomore season so you’d like to have some more experience on the headset and in the pit box.”

Scott said he believes his team has the potential to be in the top 20 consistently this year.

NBC SPORTS UNVEILS FRESH FACES FOR 2015

Eight and a half years was too long for NBC Sports to be away from NASCAR. They’re back in the game now, though. Beginning with the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona on July 5, NBC Sports will broadcast 20 Cup races and 19 XFINITY races in 2015. Showcasing the second half of the NASCAR season, NBC Sports is the new home of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

NBC Sports was excited to show off its new NASCAR talent in Charlotte on Tuesday during the second day of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. Jeff Behnke, vice president of NASCAR at NBC Sports, was joined on stage by racing legends Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty, who will both be NASCAR analysts moving forward on NBC Sports.

Joining via live stream from the NBC Sports studio in Stamford, Connecticut were new play-by-play announcer Rick Allen and recently retired driver Jeff Burton as well as Steve Letarte, former crew chief for Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The trio will be in the broadcast booth calling the races from July through November.

Krista Voda and Nate Ryan are also joining NBC Sports’ NASCAR team, providing pre-race and post-race coverage on air and online.

NASCAR America debuted as a daily talk show on NBC Sports in 2014 and will welcome a new host, Mike Massaro, in 2015. NASCAR America will have daily look-ins and interviews at many of the race shops thanks to the help of their NBC Sports’ Charlotte-based studio.

Everyone involved with NBC Sports’ re-entry into NASCAR is extremely excited for what lies ahead. After the newly formatted Chase brought such excitement in 2014, everybody is expecting even more in 2015, with Dale Jarrett being one of the format’s biggest advocates.

“Whenever you have made things more difficult for the drivers, it’s more entertaining for the fans,” Jarrett said. “And I think that’s exactly what this did.”

Be on the lookout for NASCAR on NBC during the second half of the 2015 season.

ACCESS, ACCESS, ACCESS

Performance Racing Network is giving its fans unprecedented exclusivity looking ahead to the final two days of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. As it has already this week, PRN will provide a live online video stream, bringing NASCAR fans at home or work even closer to the action from their favorite drivers and teams.

The live stream can be found at GoPRN.com/shows/stream/ and will also be archived on the GoPRNLive YouTube channel after the event.

Wednesday and Thursday will be jam-packed with some of the biggest names in the sport, including drivers from Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and many more. For a full list of drivers, fans can view the lineup here.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It allowed me to not be asked anymore ‘when am I going to be the next first-time winner?’ So I was just happy about that.”

- A.J. Allmendinger on his first career win in 2014

CMS PR

Start times announced for Darlington Raceway races

Written by
Published in Speedway News
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 12:30

Darlington Raceway and NASCAR announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500®, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 6, will start under the lights at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 race will compete on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Both events are scheduled to be televised live on NBC and broadcast on MRN Radio, as well as SiriusXM.

“I can’t think of anything better than watching many of the greatest drivers in the world compete under the lights at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend,” Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. “We appreciate the efforts by NASCAR and NBC to provide us a Sunday night primetime start for our Bojangles’ Southern 500 race. Both of our race start times give the fans two opportunities to see great action at the track Too Tough To Tame.”

Ticket renewals have been mailed reminding fans to renew their seats early for the 2015 Labor Day race weekend.

Renewing your tickets early guarantees your seats at the best prices available prior to the track’s February 18 public on-sale date. Renewing customers receive a number of benefits for being loyal fans, including the raceway’s best prices for its return to Labor Day weekend.

Renewal benefits include:

·         The track’s best prices as the NASCAR event weekend returns to Labor Day weekend

·         Flexible six-part payment plan option

·         Opportunity to auto renew for three or five years at 2015 pricing

·         Special renewal pricing for Darlington Stripe Zone Hospitality ($30 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for pre-race pit passes ($5 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for driver intro/pre-race concert access ($10 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for FanVision rentals ($15 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for Racing Electronics scanner rental ($10 savings)

Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 6.

Darlington Raceway PR

International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select Market: ISCA; OTC Bulletin Board: ISCB) ("ISC") today reported financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and full-year ended November 30, 2014.

"We are pleased to report solid financial performance for 2014, including results for our fourth quarter which exceeded our expectations," stated Lesa France Kennedy, ISC Chief Executive Officer.  "With positive momentum from capacity management and consumer marketing strategies, coupled with strong corporate sales and excitement generated by the new Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship format, we achieved sellouts at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami as well as pleasing TV rating increases for the later Cup events of the season."

Ms. France Kennedy continued, "2015 is shaping up nicely, entering the first year of the new 10 year TV broadcast agreements with Fox and NBC. We are optimistic that the sport can carry forward the fan enthusiasm that peaked during the final rounds of the Chase, and, with some tail wind from strengthening consumer confidence, translate it into solid consumer sales and TV ratings in the coming year."

"DAYTONA Rising continues to progress on time and on budget, debuting approximately 40,000 newly constructed seats and supporting infrastructure for Speedweeks 2015.  In October 2014, Florida Hospital was announced as the project's second Founding Partner as part of one of the Company's longest term deals to date.  We are optimistic that elevating the experience at the most iconic motorsports facility in North America will take the Daytona 500 brand to a whole new level, not to mention the impact on our 12 other major motorsports facilities' brands."

"We are confident about our financial condition and our strategic initiatives to grow our business.  We maintain a solid balance sheet that makes possible strategic developments and acquisitions that build shareholder value.  As well we are executing consumer and corporate programs that compliment our industry's long-term broadcast agreements, all supporting revenue growth."

Fourth Quarter Comparison

Total revenues for the fourth quarter ended November 30, 2014 were approximately $199.8 million, compared to revenues of approximately $188.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.  Operating income was approximately $39.8 million during the period compared to approximately $29.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.  In addition to the macroeconomic challenges, quarter-over-quarter comparability was impacted by:

  • The IndyCar Series event held at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California ("Auto Club Speedway") in the third quarter of fiscal 2014 was held in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
  • Drag racing events were held at Auto Club Speedway in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 that were not held in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
  • On January 31, 2014, SMI abandoned its interest and rights in MA, consequently bringing our ownership of MA to 100.0 percent. MA's operations are included in our consolidated operations subsequent to the date of SMI's abandonment. Prior to January 31, 2014, MA was accounted for as an equity investment in our financial statements. As a result of SMI's abandonment of their interest in MA, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we recognized tax benefits relating to MA of approximately $0.2 million. In addition, we recognized an impairment of a long-lived intangible asset, related to MA, of approximately $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. There were no comparable items in the same period of fiscal 2013.
  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we received a favorable settlement relating to a legal judgment of litigation involving certain ancillary operations of approximately 0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share.  There were no comparable items in the same period of fiscal 2013.
  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we recognized approximately $0.2 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, in marketing and consulting costs, that are included in general and administrative expense, related to DAYTONA Rising.  During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $0.4 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, of similar costs.
  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we recognized accelerated depreciation of $2.4 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, due to shortening the service lives of certain assets associated with DAYTONA Rising.  During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $8.0 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, due to shortening the service lives of certain assets associated with DAYTONA Rising and capacity management initiatives.
  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we recognized charges of approximately $2.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, for losses associated with asset retirements including the removal of assets not fully depreciated in connection with DAYTONA Rising.  Included in these losses were approximately $0.8 million of expenditures related to demolition and/or asset relocation costs, the remaining charges were non-cash, which included an impairment of a long-lived intangible asset related to MA, discussed above. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $6.3 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, of similar charges, of which approximately $3.0 million of expenditures related to demolition and/or asset relocation costs, the remaining charges were non-cash.
  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we received a settlement of interest income related to a long term receivable of $1.8 million, or $0.02 per diluted share.  There were no comparable items in the same period of fiscal 2013.
  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we recognized approximately $2.7 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, in capitalized interest related to DAYTONA Rising. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, we recognized $0.5 million or $0.01 per diluted share, of similar capitalized interest.

Net income for the fourth quarter was approximately $25.8 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, compared to net income of approximately $17.2 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, in the prior year period.  Excluding legal settlement, marketing and consulting costs incurred associated with DAYTONA Rising, accelerated depreciation, losses associated with the retirements of certain other long-lived assets, impairment of MA long-lived intangible asset, settlement of interest income related to a long-term receivable, DAYTONA Rising project capitalized interest, MA income tax benefits and a de minimis net gain on sale of certain assets, non-GAAP (defined below) net income for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $26.1 million, or $0.56 per diluted share.  Non-GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 was $25.8 million, or $0.55 per diluted share.

Full-Year Comparison

For the year ended November 30, 2014, total revenues were $651.9 million, compared to $612.6 million in 2013.  Operating income for the full-year period was $93.4 million compared to $78.7 million in the prior year. 

Year-over-year comparability was impacted by:

  • Drag racing events were held at Auto Club Speedway in fiscal 2014 that were not held in fiscal 2013.
  • The second annual Faster Horses music festival held during the third quarter of fiscal 2014 includes consolidation of concessions revenue and expense as compared to similar services provided by a third party for this event, for which we received a rights fee as revenue, held the same period in fiscal 2013.
  • On January 31, 2014, SMI abandoned its interest and rights in MA, consequently bringing our ownership of MA to 100.0 percent. MA's operations are included in our consolidated operations subsequent to the date of SMI's abandonment. Prior to January 31, 2014, MA was accounted for as an equity investment in our financial statements. As a result of SMI's abandonment of their interest in MA, we recorded other income of approximately $5.4 million representing the fair value of MA, over the carrying value, as of January 31, 2014. We also recognized tax benefits relating to MA of approximately $4.0 million for fiscal 2014. In addition, we recognized an impairment of a long-lived intangible asset related to MA of approximately $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share. There were no comparable items in the same period of fiscal 2013.
  • During fiscal 2013, we expensed approximately $2.8 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, of certain ongoing carrying costs related to our Staten Island property.  There were no comparable costs in the same period of fiscal 2014.
  • During fiscal 2014, we received a favorable settlement relating to a legal judgment of litigation involving certain ancillary operations of approximately $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share. During fiscal 2013, we recognized a charge relating to a settlement of a litigation involving certain ancillary facility operations of approximately $0.5 million, or $0.01 per diluted share. There was no relationship between the judgment in 2013 and the settlement in 2014.
  • In fiscal 2014, we recognized approximately $1.1 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in marketing and consulting costs that are included in general and administrative expense related to DAYTONA Rising.  During fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $1.5 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, of similar costs.
  • During fiscal 2014, we recognized approximately $11.1 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, of accelerated depreciation that was recorded due to shortening the service lives of certain assets associated with DAYTONA Rising.  During fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $15.4 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, of accelerated depreciation due to shortening the service lives of certain assets associated with DAYTONA Rising and capacity management initiatives.
  • In fiscal 2014, we recognized charges of approximately $10.1 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, of losses associated with asset retirements primarily attributable to demolition and/or asset relocation costs in connection with DAYTONA Rising, capacity management initiatives and other capital projects. Included in these losses were approximately $7.5 million of expenditures related to demolition and/or asset relocation costs, the remaining charges were non-cash, which included an impairment of a long-lived intangible asset related to MA, discussed above. During fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $16.6 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, of similar charges, of which approximately $6.6 million of expenditures related to demolition and/or asset relocation costs, the remaining charges were non-cash.
  • During fiscal 2014, we received a settlement of interest income related to a long term receivable of $1.8 million, or $0.02 per diluted share.  There was no comparable item in the same period of fiscal 2013.
  • In fiscal 2014, we recognized approximately $7.2 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, in capitalized interest related to DAYTONA Rising. During fiscal 2013, we recognized approximately $0.8 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, of similar capitalized interest.
  • During fiscal 2014, we recognized approximately $8.9 million of income from equity investments associated with our Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.  During fiscal 2013, we recognized income of approximately $9.4 million from this equity investment, which included a $1.1 million credit for previously paid property taxes related to resolution of amounts under appeal.

Net income for the year-ended November 30, 2014, was $67.4 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, compared to a net income of $45.3 million, or $0.97 per diluted share in 2013.  Excluding adjustments for legal settlement, marketing and consulting costs incurred associated with DAYTONA Rising, accelerated depreciation, losses associated with the retirements of certain other long-lived assets, impairment of MA long-lived intangible asset, settlement of interest income related to long-term receivable, DAYTONA Rising project capitalized interest, MA fair value adjustment and income tax benefits, and a de minimis net loss on sale of certain assets, non-GAAP (defined below) net income for fiscal 2014, was $65.9 million, or $1.42 per diluted share.  This is compared to non-GAAP net income for fiscal 2013 of $67.2 million, or $1.44 per diluted share.

GAAP to Non-GAAP Reconciliation

The following financial information is presented below using other than U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("non-GAAP"), and is reconciled to comparable information presented using GAAP.  Non-GAAP net income and diluted earnings per share below are derived by adjusting amounts determined in accordance with GAAP for certain items presented in the accompanying selected operating statement data, net of taxes.

The adjustments for 2013 relate to carrying costs of our Staten Island property, legal judgment, marketing and consulting costs incurred associated with DAYTONA Rising, accelerated depreciation associated with DAYTONA Rising and capacity management initiatives, losses associated with the retirements of certain other long-lived assets, capitalized interest associated with DAYTONA Rising and net gain on sale of certain assets.

The adjustments for 2014 relate to legal settlement, marketing and consulting costs incurred associated with DAYTONA Rising, accelerated depreciation, losses associated with the retirements of certain other long-lived assets, impairment of MA long-lived intangible asset, settlement of interest income related to long-term receivable, DAYTONA Rising project capitalized interest, MA fair value adjustment and income tax benefits, and net loss on sale of certain assets.

The Company believes such non-GAAP information is useful and meaningful, and is used by investors to assess its core operations, which consist of the ongoing promotion of racing events at its major motorsports entertainment facilities. Such non-GAAP information adjusts for items that are not considered to be reflective of the Company's continuing core operations at its motorsports entertainment facilities. The Company believes that such non-GAAP information improves the comparability of its operating results and provides a better understanding of the performance of its core operations for the periods presented. The Company uses this non-GAAP information to analyze the current performance and trends and make decisions regarding future ongoing operations. This non-GAAP financial information may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other entities and should not be considered as an alternative to operating income, net income or diluted earnings per share, which are determined in accordance with GAAP. The presentation of this non-GAAP financial information is not intended to be considered independent of or as a substitute for results prepared in accordance with GAAP. The Company uses both GAAP and non-GAAP information in evaluating and operating its business and as such deemed it important to provide such information to investors.

 

   

Three Months Ended

 

Year Ended

   

November 30, 2013

 

November 30, 2014

 

November 30, 2013

 

November 30, 2014

         

(Unaudited)

     
   

( In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts )

Net income

 

$

17,205

   

$

25,824

   

$

45,292

   

$

67,379

 

Adjustments, net of tax:

                       

Carrying costs related to Staten Island

 

8

   

   

1,728

   

 

Legal settlement/judgment

 

   

(386)

   

310

   

(386)

 

DAYTONA Rising project

 

230

   

144

   

913

   

672

 

Accelerated depreciation

 

4,848

   

1,480

   

9,358

   

6,758

 

Losses on retirements of long-lived assets

 

3,801

   

1,362

   

10,097

   

5,802

 

Impairment of MA's long lived intangible asset

 

   

605

   

   

605

 

Interest settlement on long-term receivable

 

   

(1,116)

   

   

(1,116)

 

DAYTONA Rising project capitalized interest

 

(297)

   

(1,650)

   

(467)

   

(4,387)

 

MA fair value adjustment and income tax benefits

 

   

(183)

   

   

(9,455)

 

Net loss (gain) on sale of certain assets

 

36

   

(2)

   

(46)

   

41

 

Non-GAAP net income

 

$

25,831

   

$

26,078

   

$

67,185

   

$

65,913

 

Per share data:

                       

Diluted earnings per share

 

$

0.37

   

$

0.55

   

$

0.97

   

$

1.45

 

Adjustments, net of tax:

                       

Carrying costs related to Staten Island

 

   

   

0.04

   

 

Legal settlement/judgment

 

   

(0.01)

   

0.01

   

(0.01)

 

DAYTONA Rising project

 

0.01

   

0.01

   

0.02

   

0.02

 

Accelerated depreciation

 

0.10

   

0.03

   

0.20

   

0.14

 

Losses on retirements of long-lived assets

 

0.08

   

0.03

   

0.21

   

0.12

 

Impairment of MA's long lived intangible asset

 

   

0.01

   

   

0.01

 

Interest settlement on long-term receivable

 

   

(0.02)

   

   

(0.02)

 

DAYTONA Rising project capitalized interest

 

(0.01)

   

(0.04)

   

(0.01)

   

(0.09)

 

MA fair value adjustment and income tax benefits

 

   

   

   

(0.20)

 

Net loss (gain) on sale of certain assets

 

   

   

   

 

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share

 

$

0.55

   

$

0.56

   

$

1.44

   

$

1.42

 

 

From a marketing partnership perspective, the Company sold all of its 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series event entitlements and was within one percent of gross marketing partnership revenue target for the year.  NASCAR is a powerful brand with a loyal fan base that is aware of, appreciates and supports corporate participation to a greater extent than fans of any other sports property.  The combination of brand power and fan loyalty provides an attractive platform for robust corporate partnerships. The number of Fortune 500 companies invested in NASCAR remains higher than any other sport. Approximately one-in-four Fortune 500 companies use NASCAR as part of their marketing strategy and the trend is increasing. The number of Fortune 500 companies investing in NASCAR increased three percent in 2014 versus prior year; and is an eleven percent improvement versus 2008.

For fiscal 2015, ISC has agreements in place for approximately 74.0 percent of its gross marketing partnership revenue target.  The Company has one of its available 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event entitlements either open or not announced and three of its fifteen NASCAR Xfinity Series event entitlements either open or not announced.  This is compared to last year at this time when it had approximately 72.0 percent of its gross marketing partnership revenue target sold and had entitlements for three NASCAR Sprint Cup and eight NASCAR Xfinity entitlements either open or not announced.  With the vast majority of its event entitlements secured, ISC can focus more resources on official status categories, which will better position the Company to meet its gross marketing partnership revenue target for 2015.

External Growth, Financing-Related and Other Initiatives

Capital Spending

The Company competes for the consumers' discretionary dollar with many entertainment options such as concerts and other major sporting events, not just other motorsport events. To better meet its customers' expectations, ISC is committed to improving the guest experience at its facilities through on-going capital improvements that position it for long-term growth.

In June 2013, ISC's board of directors endorsed a capital allocation plan for fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017 to not exceed $600.0 million in capital expenditures over that period.  The five-year capital expenditure plan encompasses all the capital expenditures for ISC's 13 major motorsports facilities, including DAYTONA Rising, as well as any equity commitments to undertake ONE DAYTONA.  Of the endorsed five-year capital expenditure plan, DAYTONA Rising will account for approximately $400.0 million of the $600.0 million.

Capital expenditures for projects at existing facilities, including those related to DAYTONA Rising, was approximately $183.9 million for ISC's 2014 fiscal year.  In comparison, the Company spent approximately $85.5 million on capital expenditures for projects at its existing facilities in fiscal 2013. With the majority of the capital expenditures for DAYTONA Rising occurring in fiscal 2014 and 2015, the Company estimates capital expenditures, exclusive of capitalized interest, across all of ISC's existing facilities will be approximately $200.0 million for fiscal 2015, based on the timing of construction payments.  With a target completion date for DAYTONA Rising in January 2016, capital expenditures will then decrease significantly with an expectation of capital expenditures for projects at all of ISC's existing facilities, exclusive of capitalized interest, to be between $60.0 to $70.0 million in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017.  

DAYTONA Rising: Reimagining an American Icon

DAYTONA Rising is the redevelopment of the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway, ISC's 55 year-old flagship motorsports facility, to enhance the event experience for fans, marketing partners, broadcasters and the motorsports industry.

The vision for DAYTONA Rising places an emphasis on enhancing the complete fan experience, beginning with five expanded and redesigned fan entrances, or injectors.  Each injector will lead directly to a series of escalators and elevators that will transport fans to any of three different concourse levels, each featuring spacious and strategically-placed social "neighborhoods" along the nearly mile-long frontstretch.

A total of 11 neighborhoods, each measuring the size of a football field, will enable fans to meet and socialize during events without ever missing any on-track action, thanks to dozens of strategically-placed video screens in every neighborhood. The central neighborhood, dubbed the "World Center of Racing," features open sight-lines enabling fans to catch all the on-track action while celebrating the history of Daytona International Speedway and its many unforgettable moments throughout more than 50 years of racing.

Every seat on Daytona's frontstretch will be replaced with wider, more comfortable seating that will provide pristine sight-lines.  There will also be more restrooms and concession stands per customer throughout the facility.  For Budweiser Speedweeks 2015, the Company will preview some of the new amenities for DAYTONA Rising such as vertical transportation, concessions and restrooms, as well as approximately 40,000 new grandstand seats on the frontstretch near Turn 1.  There have been several significant accomplishments since inception of the DAYTONA Rising project:

  • In February 2014, Daytona International Speedway announced Toyota as its first Founding Partner for DAYTONA Rising. Through this partnership, Toyota will sponsor Injector 4 and one of the neighborhoods, as well as receive 20,000 square feet of innovative fan engagement space that will enhance the overall guest experience, and nearly 50,000 square feet of interior and exterior branding space. The partnership runs through 2025.
  • In August 2014, Daytona International Speedway announced that CommScope, Inc. ("CommScope"), a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks, has become the first technology partner in the expanding DAYTONA Rising "We Built Daytona" marketing platform. CommScope will deploy a new communications infrastructure at Daytona providing the facility with the bandwidth and flexibility to offer services that will enhance a fan's experience, as well as improve stadium operations.  The "We Built Daytona" platform is designed to showcase partners involved in the construction of DAYTONA Rising through a marketing presence (once their role in the project begins). CommScope joins eight other companies including Kingspan, a market leader in sustainable building product technology; USG Corporation, a leading building products company; Sherwin-Williams, an industry leader in the development of technologically advanced paint and coatings; Big Ass Fans, a ceiling fan design and engineering company; P&S Paving, asphalt and paving company; Jones Signs, leading national sign company; Schneider Electric, global specialist in energy management; and ROSSETTI, an award-winning architectural design and planning firm that is leading the master planning of the DAYTONA Rising project.
  • On October 15, Daytona hosted DAYTONA Rising's topping out ceremony, commemorating a significant milestone - the midway mark of construction. Speedway officials, the France family and Barton Malow presided over the installation of the highest piece of steel on the project. 
  • In November 2014, Florida Hospital was announced as the stadium's second Founding Partner, sponsoring Injector 1 in one of the Company's longest term deals to date. As with Toyota, the Florida Hospital brand will be represented on one of five fan injectors, including more than 20,000 square feet of engagement space. Within this injector, Florida Hospital will also have a presence in one of the "neighborhoods".
  • Beginning in January 2015, Florida Hospital will be the exclusive healthcare provider of Daytona, which includes providing medical equipment and personnel for all events, managing the care center operations and providing ambulances to handle emergency situations.

The Company currently anticipates DAYTONA Rising to cost approximately $400.0 million, excluding capitalized interest, which we expect to fund from cash on hand, cash from its operations, and it may use borrowings on its credit facility for a limited period of time.  In June 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed  House Bill 7095 creating the Florida Sports Development Program, establishing a process for distributing state tax revenue for the construction or improvement of professional sports facilities. The DAYTONA Rising project is among the eligible applicants to receive sales tax incentives based on the project's capital investment and amount of sales tax generated by the facility. The Company filed its application and recently received approval from the state's Department of Economic Opportunity.  The final approval must come from the Legislative Budget Committee, whose decision is anticipated later in the first quarter of fiscal 2015.  The new bill could potentially provide additional capital for the project.

Total spending incurred for DAYTONA Rising was approximately $119.3 million for fiscal 2014, totaling approximately $170.5 million since the inception of the project.  Based on the Company's current plans for DAYTONA Rising, it has identified existing assets that are expected to be impacted by the redevelopment and will require accelerated depreciation, or losses on asset retirements, totaling approximately $50.0 million over the approximate 26-month project time span. During fiscal 2014, the Company recognized accelerated depreciation and losses on retirements of assets totaling approximately $15.8 million, with a total of approximately $28.0 million recognized since the inception of the project.

Despite the Company not anticipating the need for additional long-term debt to fund this project, accounting rules dictate that the Company capitalize a portion of the interest on existing outstanding debt during the construction period.  The Company estimates it will record approximately $11.0 million to $13.0 million of capitalized interest from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2016, with roughly half of the capitalized interest recorded in fiscal 2014.  The lowering of the capitalized interest estimate from previously released amounts is due to plans for a portion of the new grandstand construction to go into service for Speedweeks 2015, thus suspending capitalization of interest on those assets on their in-service date.  As a result of these assets going into service during fiscal 2015 and 2016, depreciation expense, related directly to DAYTONA Rising, will increase incrementally by approximately $12.0 million to $14.0 million in fiscal 2015, and an additional $9.0 million to $10.0 million in fiscal 2016, respectively. Accordingly, the Company's total depreciation expense for fiscal 2015 is estimated to be between approximately $93.0 million and $97.0 million, and approximately $100.0 million to $105.0 million in fiscal 2016, and then decreasing, due to lower capital spending, to approximately $85.0 million to $90.0 million beginning in fiscal 2019.

The Company expects that by providing its fans with a superior event day as well as an expansive platform for its marketing partners, including an elevated hospitality experience, DAYTONA Rising, upon completion in 2016, is expected to provide an immediate incremental lift in Daytona International Speedway's revenues of approximately $20.0 million, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") lift of approximately $15.0 million with a mid-single-digit growth rate. The Company also currently anticipates the project to be accretive to its net income per share within three years of completion. While these forward looking amounts are management's projections and the Company believes they are reasonable, actual results may vary from these estimates due to unanticipated changes in projected attendance, lower than expected ticket prices, or lower than forecasted corporate sponsorships.

ONE DAYTONA

The Company entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Atlanta-based Jacoby Development, Inc. to develop a mixed-use entertainment destination, named ONE DAYTONA, located adjacent to our 188,000 square foot office building, the International Motorsports Center, on 189 acres we own located directly across from our Daytona motorsports entertainment facility.

The Company has announced that the ONE DAYTONA joint venture has selected Shaner Hotels and Prime Hospitality Group ("PHG") as its hotel partners. Shaner Hotels and PHG are planning a 145-room full-service boutique property and are working with global hospitality leader Marriott International to bring an exclusive Marriott Autograph Collection hotel to Daytona Beach and ONE DAYTONA.

The joint venture continues to refine the conceptual design for the first phase of ONE DAYTONA. Bass Pro Shops®, America's most popular outdoor store, and Cobb Theatres, the highly respected Southeastern-based exhibitor, have executed leases to anchor ONE DAYTONA. The joint venture is in active discussions with other potential anchor tenants for ONE DAYTONA. We have approved land use entitlements for ONE DAYTONA to allow for up to 1.4 million square feet of retail/dining/entertainment, 2,500 seats in a movie theater, 660 hotel rooms, 1,350 units of residential, 567,000 square feet of additional office space and 500,000 square feet of commercial/industrial space. Final designs are being completed for phase one of ONE DAYTONA, and the joint venture will incorporate the results of market studies, project costs and financing structures.

The joint venture has formed a Community Development District ("CDD") for the purpose of installing and maintaining public infrastructure at ONE DAYTONA. The CDD is a local, special purpose government framework authorized by Chapter 190 of the Florida Statutes for managing and financing infrastructure to support community development.

The CDD has negotiated agreements with the City of Daytona Beach and Volusia County for a total of $40.0 million in incentives to finance a portion of the estimated $53.0 million in infrastructure required to move forward with the ONE DAYTONA project. We are currently proceeding with the leasing phase of the project while simultaneously completing the various necessary requirements for the CDD to access the incentives to start infrastructure work.

Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway

Kansas Entertainment, LLC, ("Kansas Entertainment") a 50/50 joint venture of Penn Hollywood Kansas, Inc. ("Penn"), a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc. and Kansas Speedway Development Corporation ("KSDC"), a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of ISC, operates the Hollywood-themed casino and branded destination entertainment facility, overlooking turn two at Kansas Speedway. Penn is the managing member of Kansas Entertainment and is responsible for the operations of the casino.

ISC has accounted for Kansas Entertainment as an equity investment in our financial statements as of November 30, 2014.  Our 50.0 percent portion of Kansas Entertainment's net income was approximately $9.4 million and $8.9 million for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, respectively, and is included in equity in net income from equity investments in our consolidated statements of operations. Included in our fiscal 2013 income from equity investment amount is approximately $1.1 million related to a one-time property tax refund.

Per the Development Agreement with the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas ("Unified Government"), the casino is subject to a 1.0 percent of gross gaming revenue penalty if it had not commenced construction on an adjacent hotel by the second anniversary of its opening, which was February 2014. In June 2014, the Unified Government approved an extension of the construction commencement date to give the Unified Government time to complete a feasibility analysis for a new convention center that could be integrated with the hotel. Recently, the Unified Government decided not to proceed with the integrated development, leaving Kansas Entertainment 100 days after the Unified Government's notification of its decision to commence construction.  Consequently, Kansas Entertainment has until April 10, 2015, subject to any additional time taking into account that groundbreaking cannot realistically occur during winter conditions, to commence construction prior to the enforcement of the aforementioned penalty.

The final decision to move forward with the proposed hotel will be market-based and subject to approval by Kansas Entertainment's board. Should Kansas Entertainment ultimately not build the hotel it will be subject to the penalty from the second anniversary of its opening forward. Accordingly, beginning February 2014, Kansas Entertainment began recording expense equal to 1.0 percent of gross gaming revenue since it did not proceed with construction of a hotel by the original deadline. Included in our income from equity investment amounts for fiscal 2014 is approximately $0.6 million expense related to this penalty.

The Company has received cash distributions from the casino totaling $22.0 million and $21.5 million for fiscal years 2014 and 2013, respectively.  Subsequent to November 30, 2014, we received an additional $5.5 million distribution from Kansas Entertainment.

Fiscal 2015 Financial Outlook

Fiscal 2015 will feature certain activities and business changes that will significantly impact the comparability to the prior year.  These changes include:

  • Certain elements of the DAYTONA Rising project placed in service beginning in 2015; and
  • The Company and industry's strategic change in the business model for merchandising officially licensed apparel and souvenirs.

As noted above, Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 will introduce several aforementioned amenities of the DAYTONA Rising project.  As a result of these assets being placed in service in 2015, the Company will begin to recognize approximately $12.0 million to $14.0 million, or approximately $0.15 to $0.18 per diluted share, of incremental annual depreciation expense.  Additional ongoing operating expenses related to new technology, maintenance and event operations associated with opening certain sections of DAYTONA Rising will be offset by incremental revenue recognized for DAYTONA Rising related benefits provided to sponsors in 2015.  The revenue, operating expenses and depreciation impacting 2015 were contemplated in the DAYTONA Rising project pro-forma expectations at full build-out.  The Company remains confident it will achieve its communicated targets for the project, including incremental revenues of approximately $20.0 million, and EBITDA of approximately $15.0 million to be recognized by fiscal 2016, when DAYTONA Rising is expected to be complete and all assets fully in service.

Recently, NASCAR and NASCAR Team Properties announced a 10-year agreement with Fanatics Retail Group Concessions, Inc. ("Fanatics") to operate NASCAR's entire at-track merchandise business and deliver fans an enhanced, experiential at-track shopping environment. As part of the agreement, Fanatics will be the exclusive retailer of NASCAR and driver merchandise at trackside for all 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. In addition, Fanatics has also contracted with ISC for 10 year exclusive retail merchandise rights for its track trademarks and certain other intellectual property at all ISC tracks. The new trackside retail model operated by Fanatics will evolve from using solely haulers for each specific team or driver to displaying all merchandise in a climate-controlled superstore retail environment supported by, in instances, smaller satellite retail touch points around the track.  The new model will provide a more personal and convenient shopping experience for race fans.  We believe this improved trackside merchandise model, combined with an upgraded online and mobile experience, will better position ISC and the industry to maximize merchandise sales while delivering top quality experience to our fans.  Consequently, ISC's wholly owned subsidiaries, Americrown and MA, will no longer provide at track merchandise to fans at motorsports events and therefore will no longer earn and recognize the related revenue.  Instead, the Company will receive a percentage of sales from Fanatics, recorded as part of Food, Beverage and Merchandise Revenue.  For fiscal 2015, the Company is projecting a reduction in operating income of approximately $4.0 million to $5.0 million, or $0.05 to $0.06 per diluted share, related to this new merchandise business model.  Contributing significantly to this reduction are one-time, non-recurring operating expenses totaling $3.5 million to $4.5 million related to partial year operations, for which there is no associated revenue, and restructuring costs to effectively transition merchandise operations.

Financial results will also reflect:

  • Elimination of consolidated trackside merchandise operations, partially offset by percentage sales received from Fanatics, resulting in lower food, beverage and merchandise revenue and expense of approximately $37.0 million to $38.0 million, and $33.0 million to $34.0 million, respectively;
  • Elimination of general and administrative expenses related to trackside merchandise operations of approximately $2.0 million to $3.0 million;

Going forward, the Company's expectation is that the new merchandising model will meet or exceed the historic contribution from this line of business as well as enhance the experience for our guests as noted above.

After considering the aforementioned business changes, for fiscal 2015, the Company anticipates total revenues to range between $615.0 million and $630.0 million.  The Company expects revenue related to admissions, corporate sales and food, beverage and merchandise to be stable year-over-year, except as noted above, while television rights for NASCAR's top three racing series are expected to increase 3.8 percent to approximately $315.0 million.  The low-end of the range contemplates a decrease in consumer-related revenues, should economic conditions deteriorate and/or our core business not continue to show positive momentum.

The Company expects certain expense increases for the year, including an approximate 3.1 percent increase in NASCAR's sanction fees and prize and point fund monies, resulting from an increase in broadcast revenue and to a lesser extent, an increase in NASCAR Event Management Fees.  Also, contributing to the increase in operating expenses is an approximately 3.2 percent increase to motorsports and general and administrative expenses, primarily personnel related costs, strategic spend supporting consumer marketing initiatives, the aforementioned operating expenses associated with assets placed in service related to DAYTONA Rising and one-time transition costs associated with the change in merchandise strategy.  The Company continues to invest in strategies that target the younger demographics and social media, as well as improving the guest experience at live events, including enhanced data connectivity and multi-media content distribution on mobile devices and high-definition video screens.

As a result, the Company currently expects its fiscal 2015 non-GAAP EBITDA to be between $180.0 million and $195.0 million, and EBITDA margin to range between 29.5 percent and 31.0 percent of total revenues.  This compares to fiscal 2014 EBITDA and margin of approximately $194.4 million and 29.8 percent, respectively.  Deprecation and amortization expense is expected to be approximately $89.0 million to $91.0 million, on a non-GAAP basis, which includes an incremental approximately $12.0 million to $14.0 million related to assets placed in service for DAYTONA Rising.  The Company currently expects its 2015 operating margin to range between 15.0 percent and 16.5 percent of total revenues, on a non-GAAP basis.  The Company's effective tax rate in 2015 will be approximately 38.5 percent to 39.5 percent.

The Company expects fiscal 2015 cash distributions from the casino joint venture to ISC will be approximately $20.0 million to $22.0 million.  Cash distributions anticipated for 2015 could be impacted should the joint venture decide to commence construction on a hotel development.  Equity income from the casino is expected to be approximately $8.0 million to $10.0 million for the year.  The low end of projections for 2015 include the aforementioned penalty equal to 1.0 percent of gross gaming revenue if the casino has not commenced construction on a hotel development by April 10, 2015, subject to any additional time taking into account that groundbreaking cannot realistically occur during winter conditions.

The Company currently expects a $0.02 per share increase in its annual dividend to $0.26 per share, contingent upon approval from ISC's Board of Directors.  The Company's share repurchase program will continue to maintain opportunistic parameters based on levels of ISC's stock price.  On a quarterly basis, the Company will review and adjust, if necessary, the parameters of its Stock Purchase Plan.  At this time, the Company does not expect material share repurchases for fiscal 2015.

Based on all of the above assumptions, the Company expects fiscal 2015 non-GAAP earnings between $1.10 and $1.30 per diluted share, which includes a charge of approximately $0.15 to $0.18 per diluted share related to additional depreciation for assets placed in service during fiscal 2015 for DAYTONA Rising and approximately $0.05 to $0.06 per diluted share related to non-recurring charges associated with the aforementioned merchandising strategy.  Excluding these charges, non-GAAP earnings for fiscal 2015 would have been between $1.30 and $1.50 per diluted share, comparable to its non-GAAP earnings guidance for fiscal 2014.  From an earnings perspective the fourth quarter will be the Company's most significant, followed by the second, first and third quarters, respectively.

ISC's fiscal 2015 non-GAAP earnings per share guidance excludes any income statement impact  attributable to the completion of the DAYTONA Rising project, including approximately $12.0 million non-capitalized costs and accelerated depreciation for removal of assets not fully depreciated, partially offset by approximately $4.0 million in capitalized interest expense.  Also excluded are potential non-capitalized costs or charges that could be recognized related to our ONE DAYTONA development, start up and/or financing costs should our Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway joint venture pursue construction of an adjacent hotel, any costs related to legal settlements; gain or loss on sale of fixed assets; accelerated depreciation and future loss on retirements or relocation of certain long-lived assets which could be recorded as part of capital improvements other than DAYTONA Rising resulting in removal of assets prior to the end of their actual useful life.

Event Schedule

               
                   
 

First Quarter

 

Second Quarter

 

Third Quarter

 

Fourth Quarter

 

Full Fiscal Year

Series Name

2015

 

2014

   

2015

 

2014

   

2015

 

2014

   

2015

 

2014

   

2015

 

2014

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup

3

 

3

   

6

 

7

   

4

 

4

   

8

 

7

   

21

 

21

 

NASCAR Xfinity

1

 

1

   

4

 

5

   

4

 

4

   

6

 

5

   

15

 

15

 

NASCAR Camping World

1

 

1

   

2

 

2

   

1

 

1

   

5

 

5

   

9

 

9

 

IndyCar Series

0

 

0

   

0

 

0

   

1

 

1

   

0

 

0

   

1

 

1

 

ARCA RE/MAX

1

 

1

   

1

 

1

   

2

 

2

   

1

 

1

   

5

 

5

 

IMSA Tudor United Sportscar Championship Series

1

 

1

   

0

 

0

   

1

 

1

   

0

 

0

   

2

 

2

 

AMA Superbike/Supercross

0

 

0

   

1

 

1

   

0

 

0

   

0

 

0

   

1

 

1

 
 

7

 

7

   

14

 

16

   

13

 

13

   

20

 

18

   

54

 

54

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series

Darlington's NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend, which includes the NASCAR Xfinity series, will move from the second quarter 2014 to fourth quarter 2015.

In closing, Ms. France Kennedy stated,  "We maintain a solid financial position, developed over many years, that affords us the ability to follow our disciplined capital allocation strategy and maintain our leadership position in the motorsports industry.  Building on this foundation we will continue to execute our five year, $600 million capital allocation plan through 2017.  For the future, we are well positioned to balance the strategic capital needs of our business with returning capital to our shareholders."

Conference Call Details

The management of ISC will host a conference call today with investors at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time.  To participate, dial toll free (888) 694-4641 five to ten minutes prior to the scheduled start time and request to be connected to the ISC earnings call, ID number 69156946.

A live Webcast will also be available at that time on the Company's Web site, www.internationalspeedwaycorporation.com, under the "Investor Relations" section.  A replay will be available two hours after the end of the call through midnight Tuesday, February 10, 2014.  To access, dial (855) 859-2056 and enter the code 69156946, or visit the "Investor Relations" section of the Company's Web site.

International Speedway Corporation is a leading promoter of motorsports activities, currently promoting more than 100 racing events annually as well as numerous other motorsports-related activities.  The Company owns and/or operates 13 of the nation's major motorsports entertainment facilities, including Daytona International Speedway® in Florida (home of the DAYTONA 500®); Talladega Superspeedway® in Alabama; Michigan International Speedway® located outside Detroit; Richmond International Raceway® in Virginia; Auto Club Speedway of Southern CaliforniaSM near Los Angeles; Kansas Speedway® in Kansas City, Kansas; Phoenix International Raceway® in Arizona; Chicagoland Speedway® and Route 66 RacewaySM near Chicago, Illinois;  Homestead-Miami SpeedwaySM in Florida; Martinsville Speedway® in Virginia; Darlington Raceway® in South Carolina; and Watkins Glen International® in New York.

The Company also owns and operates Motor Racing NetworkSM, the nation's largest independent sports radio network and Americrown Service CorporationSM, a subsidiary that provides catering services, food and beverage concessions, and with its subsidiary Motorsports Authentics, produces and markets motorsports-related merchandise.  In addition, the Company has a 50.0 percent interest in the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.  For more information, visit the Company's Web site at www.internationalspeedwaycorporation.com.

Statements made in this release that express the Company's or management's beliefs or expectations and which are not historical facts or which are applied prospectively are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that the Company's actual results could differ materially from those contained in or implied by such forward-looking statements. The Company's results could be impacted by risk factors, including, but not limited to, weather surrounding racing events, government regulations, economic conditions, consumer and corporate spending, military actions, air travel and national or local catastrophic events. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained from time to time in the Company's SEC filings including, but not limited to, the 10-K and subsequent 10-Qs. Copies of those filings are available from the Company and the SEC. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be needed to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. The inclusion of any statement in this release does not constitute an admission by International Speedway or any other person that the events or circumstances described in such statement are material.

(Tables Follow)

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations

(In Thousands, Except Share and Per Share Amounts)

         
   

Three Months Ended

 

Year Ended

   

November 30, 2013

 

November 30, 2014

 

November 30, 2013

 

November 30, 2014

   

(Unaudited)

REVENUES:

                       

Admissions, net

 

$

37,916

   

$

37,667

   

$

129,824

   

$

129,688

 

Motorsports related

 

135,078

   

138,134

   

425,530

   

433,738

 

Food, beverage and merchandise

 

12,279

   

19,447

   

44,046

   

72,880

 

Other

 

3,395

   

4,505

   

13,240

   

15,630

 
   

188,668

   

199,753

   

612,640

   

651,936

 

EXPENSES:

                       

Direct:

                       

Prize and point fund monies and NASCAR sanction
fees

 

52,636

   

53,761

   

159,349

   

162,988

 

Motorsports related

 

38,470

   

36,421

   

125,928

   

128,229

 

Food, beverage and merchandise

 

9,428

   

16,177

   

33,150

   

58,265

 

General and administrative

 

25,023

   

28,358

   

104,925

   

108,563

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

27,327

   

22,353

   

93,989

   

90,352

 

Losses on retirements of long-lived assets

 

6,252

   

2,845

   

16,607

   

10,148

 
   

159,136

   

159,915

   

533,948

   

558,545

 

Operating income

 

29,532

   

39,838

   

78,692

   

93,391

 

Interest income

 

38

   

2,005

   

96

   

2,107

 

Interest expense

 

(3,615)

   

(1,386)

   

(15,221)

   

(9,182)

 

Other

 

(60)

   

3

   

75

   

5,380

 

Equity in net income from equity investments

 

2,289

   

2,172

   

9,434

   

8,916

 

Income before income taxes

 

28,184

   

42,632

   

73,076

   

100,612

 

Income taxes

 

10,979

   

16,808

   

27,784

   

33,233

 

Net income

 

$

17,205

   

$

25,824

   

$

45,292

   

$

67,379

 
                         

Dividends per share

 

$

   

$

   

$

0.22

   

$

0.24

 

Earnings per share:

                       

Basic and diluted

 

$

0.37

   

$

0.55

   

$

0.97

   

$

1.45

 
                         

Basic weighted average shares outstanding

 

46,508,514

   

46,592,816

   

46,470,647

   

46,559,232

 
                         

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding

 

46,524,279

   

46,606,009

   

46,486,561

   

46,573,038

 
                         

Comprehensive income

 

$

17,370

   

$

25,989

   

$

45,950

   

$

68,036

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets

(In Thousands, Except Share and Per Share Amounts)

         
   

November 30, 2013

 

November 30, 2014

   

(Unaudited)

ASSETS

           

Current Assets:

           

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

172,827

   

$

158,847

 

Receivables, less allowance

 

25,910

   

27,598

 

Inventories

 

2,619

   

4,030

 

Income taxes receivable

 

17,399

   

6,202

 

Deferred income taxes

 

3,122

   

2,789

 

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

 

13,965

   

8,099

 

Total Current Assets

 

235,842

   

207,565

 
             

Property and Equipment, net

 

1,276,976

   

1,381,190

 

Other Assets:

           

Equity investments

 

134,327

   

122,565

 

Intangible assets, net

 

178,628

   

178,629

 

Goodwill

 

118,791

   

118,791

 

Other

 

72,942

   

68,911

 
   

504,688

   

488,896

 

Total Assets

 

$

2,017,506

   

$

2,077,651

 

LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY

           

Current Liabilities:

           

Current portion of long-term debt

 

$

2,807

   

$

3,435

 

Accounts payable

 

27,669

   

41,491

 

Deferred income

 

35,679

   

33,043

 

Other current liabilities

 

15,907

   

18,813

 

Total Current Liabilities

 

82,062

   

96,782

 
             

Long-Term Debt

 

271,680

   

268,311

 

Deferred Income Taxes

 

366,531

   

354,276

 

Long-Term Deferred Income

 

8,604

   

9,548

 

Other Long-Term Liabilities

 

1,474

   

2,302

 

Commitments and Contingencies

 

   

 

Shareholders' Equity:

           

Class A Common Stock, $.01 par value, 80,000,000 shares authorized

 

261

   

262

 

Class B Common Stock, $.01 par value, 40,000,000 shares authorized

 

200

   

200

 

Additional paid-in capital

 

445,097

   

447,518

 

Retained earnings

 

846,235

   

902,433

 

Accumulated other comprehensive loss

 

(4,638)

   

(3,981)

 

Total Shareholders' Equity

 

1,287,155

   

1,346,432

 

Total Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity

 

$

2,017,506

   

$

2,077,651

 

 

 

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(In Thousands)

     
   

Year Ended

   

November 30, 2013

 

November 30, 2014

   

(Unaudited)

OPERATING ACTIVITIES

           

Net income

 

$

45,292

   

$

67,379

 

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating
activities:

           

Gain on assumption of controlling interest in equity investee

 

   

(5,447)

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

93,989

   

90,352

 

Stock-based compensation

 

2,533

   

2,826

 

Amortization of financing costs

 

1,397

   

1,779

 

Interest received on Staten Island note receivable

 

   

5,087

 

Deferred income taxes

 

36,012

   

(12,346)

 

Income from equity investments

 

(9,434)

   

(8,916)

 

Distribution from equity investee

 

8,216

   

10,076

 

Losses on retirements of long-lived assets, non-cash

 

10,023

   

2,644

 

Other, net

 

(26)

   

380

 

Changes in operating assets and liabilities

           

Receivables, net

 

4,920

   

(1,776)

 

Inventories, prepaid expenses and other assets

 

(479)

   

1,977

 

Accounts payable and other liabilities

 

3,658

   

(517)

 

Deferred income

 

(8,990)

   

(1,692)

 

Income taxes

 

(13,716)

   

11,041

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

173,395

   

162,847

 

INVESTING ACTIVITIES

           

Capital expenditures

 

(85,539)

   

(183,936)

 

Distribution from equity investee and affiliate

 

13,284

   

11,924

 

Equity investments and advances to affiliate

 

   

(1,322)

 

Proceeds from sale of Staten Island property

 

5,322

   

6,100

 

Cash included in assumption of ownership interest in equity investee

 

   

4,686

 

Other, net

 

646

   

32

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(66,287)

   

(162,516)

 

FINANCING ACTIVITIES

           

Payment of long-term debt

 

(2,513)

   

(2,807)

 

Exercise of Class A common stock options

 

341

   

 

Cash dividends paid

 

(10,229)

   

(11,181)

 

Reacquisition of previously issued common stock

 

(259)

   

(323)

 

Net cash used in financing activities

 

(12,660)

   

(14,311)

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

 

94,448

   

(13,980)

 

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year

 

78,379

   

172,827

 

Cash and cash equivalents at end of year

 

$

172,827

   

$

158,847

 

ISC Motorsports PR

Pocono Raceway and long-time partner, Axalta Coating Systems, announced today a multi-year entitlement agreement which includes the renaming of the annual June NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race held at ‘The Tricky Triangle’ as the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400.

“We are very excited to share this great news, in cooperation with everyone at Axalta Coating Systems,” said Pocono Raceway President/CEO, Brandon Igdalsky. “They have been a great addition to the Pocono Raceway family, and we look forward to growing this relationship in 2015 and beyond. What makes this even more special is the fact we get to work hand-in-hand with a true global powerhouse who also calls the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ‘home.’”

“Axalta is proud of its 22-year motorsports partnership,” said Axalta Vice President and head of its North America business, Nigel Budden.  “As a leader in the US refinish business, our paint graces racecars that burn rubber on the track each season and we proudly support four-time NASCAR® Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.  Now, we are pleased to expand our racing involvement as Pocono Raceway’s title sponsor of the upcoming race on June 7th.  We look forward to cheering on Gordon as he vies for a seventh win at Pocono Raceway.”

Axalta Coating Systems is “The Official Finish” of Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, the two most recent NSCS championship organizations. They also sponsor the No. 24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS driven by Jeff Gordon, who is the winningest NASCAR driver at Pocono with six victories (June 1996, June 1997, July 1998, June 2007, June 2011 and August 2012).

Pocono Raceway PR

With the Bojangles’ Southern 500® returning to Labor Day weekend in 2015, Darlington Raceway is excited to announce it will commemorate its history with a retro-style ticket that will be issued for its events on September 5-6, 2015.

The design will incorporate the look of the 1974 ticket. It features South Carolina and Darlington Raceway legend Cale Yarborough, who was highlighted as the defending champion in 1974 after winning his first career Southern 500 in 1973.

The ticket will also link eras by honoring last year’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 winner and 2014 defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick, in a similar fashion.

These special tickets will be used for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 and NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 races. Tickets are expected to be mailed to all customers starting in mid-June.

“We announced in December that we would make some exciting announcements each month leading into our race weekend. This new ticket design will be unique for our fans because it captures our storied history with a retro feel and celebrates our defending race champion Kevin Harvick,” track President Chip Wile said. “This is just one of many initiatives we have planned over the next several months as we celebrate the tradition returning to Labor Day weekend in September.”

In addition, Darlington Raceway will introduce a “Fan Hall of Fame” program. The program will honor longtime ticketholders and supporters of the track. A minimum of five fans will be selected in the first year and will be honored during Bojangles’ Southern 500 pre-race ceremonies. Fan Hall of Fame members will be asked to provide feedback and ideas to the track in future years, serving in a Fan Advisory Board capacity.

“We have many loyal race fans who have attended events here for decades, so it only made sense to thank and celebrate them through this new program,” Wile said. “Our fans are the number one reason Darlington Raceway has enjoyed a history steep in tradition. Without them, we would not be in existence today. Their stories are what we need to recognize and honor moving forward.”

Ticket renewals have been mailed reminding fans to renew their seats for the 2015 Labor Day race weekend.

Renewing your tickets early guarantees your seats at the best prices available prior to the opening of all remaining seats to the general public on February 18.

“We want our fans to take advantage of all the great pricing and benefits we offer during the renewal period,” Wile said. “This is the best way to guarantee your seats or campsites when NASCAR racing returns to Labor Day weekend at Darlington Raceway. This is going to be one of the most exciting events of the season, and we encourage everyone to get their tickets now and start preparing as the Tradition Returns to Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend in 2015!”

Renewing customers receive many great benefits for being a loyal customer, including the raceway’s best pricing for Labor Day weekend.

Renewal benefits include:

·         The track’s best prices for the Bojangles’ Southern 500

·         Flexible six-part payment plan option

·         Opportunity to auto renew for three or five years at 2015 pricing

·         Special renewal pricing for Darlington Stripe Zone Hospitality ($30 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for pre-race pit passes ($5 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for driver intro/pre-race concert access ($10 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for FanVision rentals ($15 savings)

·         Special renewal pricing for Racing Electronics scanner rental ($10 savings)

Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting www.DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 6.

Darlington Raceway PR

The biggest all-star event in sports will host a pre-race concert with one of the biggest bands in country music as Little Big Town will get the crowd revved up before the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday, May 16.

Together since 1998, Little Big Town is comprised of a quartet of talented musicians whose vocal stylings have earned the group a GRAMMY Award and an Emmy. In addition, Little Big Town has been awarded multiple recognitions from the Country Music Association, including being named "Vocal Group of the Year" in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as "Single of the Year" for the smash hit "Pontoon" in 2012. The Academy of Country Music awarded Little Big Town the "Top New Vocal Group" in 2007, "Music Video of the Year" for "Tornado" in 2013 and "Vocal Group of the Year" in 2014.

Little Big Town released their most recent album "Pain Killer" in October 2014, to massive critical acclaim. The album features the No. 1, gold-certified, hit single "Day Drinking" as well as current single and fan favorite, "Girl Crush." The band was also inducted into the Grand Ole Opry as official members this past October.

"Little Big Town has a sound that's as distinctive and entertaining as the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race itself, so it's the perfect combination for a memorable Saturday night under the lights," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "What better way to start the 10 Days of Thunder at Charlotte Motor Speedway and give fans even more value."

CMS PR

Craig Wayne Boyd to perform before Kobalt 400 at LVMS

Written by
Published in Speedway News
Monday, 26 January 2015 18:16

Craig Wayne Boyd will put a smile on race fans’ faces prior to the start of the Kobalt 400 on March 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The most recent winner of The Voice, Boyd will perform during pre-race festivities for the 18th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at LVMS.

“Holy wow! Getting to be a part of the Kobalt 400 is going to be something I'll never forget,” Boyd said. “There's nothing like being at a NASCAR race... the smell of the fuel, the excitement of the crowd, rooting for your favorite driver, and now to be able to stand in the middle of it all and perform to such a loyal NASCAR audience is more than I can ask for! I am truly blessed.”

Boyd, who recently made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry, will play a 15-minute set, including his hit single “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face” just prior to driver introductions.

“Craig Wayne Boyd is an up-and-coming star in Nashville, and we’re looking forward to having him on our stage before the Kobalt 400,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “It takes a special talent to win a fierce competition like The Voice, and we’re just excited to hear Craig do his thing here at LVMS.”

Boyd is making his mark in Las Vegas as he is also opening for the nine-show Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot! residency, which runs from February 25-March 14 at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Rascal Flatts will perform the national anthem prior to the start of the Kobalt 400.

LVMS PR

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