Sprint Cup Series News (7324)
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has finally returned from a well-deserved off-weekend. As the Chase for the Sprint Cup is rapidly approaching, teams are gearing up for what they hope to be a championship run. Besides the multiple organizations that will contend for a championship, NASCAR is also gearing up for their first year with a new Chase for the Sprint Cup format.
NASCAR is treating fans in Chicago for a preview of the Chase by inviting fans for the debut of a one-of-a-kind event. The Chase Grid™ Live program will be held on the Wednesday and Thursday in downtown Chicago preceding the first race in NASCAR’s version of the playoffs.
“There’s no better way to introduce our new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format than by inviting our fans – the most loyal in sports – to be a part of the celebration,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. “We are fortunate to have partnered with two world-class brands in Toyota and Sprint to provide an unforgettable fan experience as we embark on this significant moment for our sport.”
In the past, NASCAR has had events similar to the Chase Grid™ Live. These events included the Chase Contenders Live in 2013, which was held at the Navy Pier on the coast of Lake Michigan.
Due to a conjoined effort by Sprint and Toyota, NASCAR will be able to bring fans access to each of the 16 drivers that will be battling for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crown. As seen in the past, NASCAR has been able to bring companies together that likely would not have formed a partnership without America’s most popular form of motorsports.
“Toyota is proud to once again partner with NASCAR and Sprint in Chicago for this annual celebration of the Sprint Cup Series championship contenders,” said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “With this season’s new Chase format and 16 worthy competitors vying for the championship trophy, this is an event Chicagoans and NASCAR fans will certainly want to attend. Being from Chicago, I know it’s a great venue and knowing NASCAR it will definitely be a must-see event.”
Besides have the experience to watch a two-hour event, there is also the Chase Grid™ Live Sweepstakes, which fans can enter via NASCAR.com. The contest lasts until August 29, and the Grand Prize winner will receive a VIP experience to the Chase Grid Live event, along with a pair of VIP passes to each of the three NASCAR-sanctioned races being held to start off the Chase at the Chicagoland Speedway, amongst other prizes.
ESPN will also play a key role in Chase Grid™ Live – providing exclusive features and interviews with a large amount of the drivers that competing in the first round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Everyone knows a good pit crew is essential to a race car’s success and the same is true of your own personal pit stop, the bathroom. Even if your bathroom is decked out in Scott® Brand toilet paper, it still might be lacking in other areas. So Scott Brand is offering two lucky winners $25,000 to make over their personal pit stops through the “Pic to Win” Sweepstakes.
The sweepstakes, which runs July 17, 2014, through November 18, 2014, asks entrants to share a photo of their outdated, ugly and downright scary bathrooms. While two Grand Prize winners will have the opportunity to upgrade their personal pit stops, eight runners-up will get to experience a big race from a different perspective with pit-row passes during a race weekend getaway.
“At Scott we’re known for offering unique values and we can’t wait to share this unique sweepstakes with our customers,” said Michael Hurt, Senior Brand Manager for Scott Brand. “It’s an exciting way to bring our race sponsorship to life.”
“I think everyone deserves to have a winning personal pit stop where they can recharge and prepare for the next lap of their own race,” said AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 47 Scott Products racecar in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “Two lucky winners will have that $25,000 makeover opportunity, while the other eight winners will get to experience the excitement I feel every time I drive into the pit. I’m thrilled to work with Scott and offer this sweepstakes to our fans.”
This year marks the start of the Scott Brand’s partnership with Allmendinger, who will be racing behind the wheel of a brand-new Chevy SS. Fans can also cheer on the No. 47 Scott Products race car throughout the season, including:
- August 3 – Pocono
- August 10 – Watkins Glen
- October 11 – Charlotte
- October 19 – Talladega
JTG Racing PR
Carsforsale.com, one of the Internet’s largest online automotive inventory websites, is proud to announce that the No. 40 Carsforsale.com Chevrolet SS will make its fourth appearance of the season with Landon Cassill and Hillman Racing at the NASCAR Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 on July 27. The 21stannual 160-lap NASCAR event will take place at the historic 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EDT.
“The opportunity to sponsor Landon and the Hillman Racing team at such a prestigious NASCAR event is very exciting,” said Sean Coffman of Carsforsale.com. “Carsforsale.com is here to connect buyers with sellers of vehicles and NASCAR has provided a great platform to increase awareness of our brand to loyal NASCAR fans across the country.”
“The race at the Brickyard is one of the crown jewels of the sport of NASCAR,” said Cassill, who has a career-best 20th-place performance in four previous starts at IMS. “After the Daytona 500, this is the most prestigious race on the NASCAR circuit, and I’m proud to have had Carsforsale.com on our No. 40 Hillman Racing for both events. We’re looking forward to getting the familiar yellow Carsforsale.com Chevrolet up front on Sunday in front of the 75 million NASCAR fans.”
With inventory from over 17,000 dealers across the country, Carsforsale.com offers consumers a portal to search for their next vehicle. Involvement with Landon Cassill and the Hillman Racing team has provided Carsforsale.com with an opportunity to increase brand awareness to consumers nationwide.
Hillman Racing PR
As the NASCAR community looks back on 20 years of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, many in the sport say their most memorable experiences are from the inaugural event.
That’s true for Eddie and Len Wood, co-owners of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. NASCAR’s first trip to the famous Brickyard was their first trip too.
Although their father Glen Wood and uncles Leonard, Delano and Ray Lee hold a major place in Indy lore through their work getting Jim Clark and his Lotus Ford to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500, the younger generation had never seen the place before NASCAR went there in 1994.
“Len and I were too young to go back when our dad and uncles were there,” Eddie Wood said. “And after that we were always busy at Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend when the Indy 500 was being run.”
The brothers spent their first moments at the Brickyard back in ’94, more as tourists than race team members. They walked out onto the track, onto the yard of bricks at the start/finish line and stood under the Gasoline Alley sign.
“I took Len’s picture, and he took mine,” Wood said.
The brothers also got to know some of the officials at the track, including some old timers who were working there when the Woods went to Victory Lane in ‘65.
“We learned a lot about things that happened there prior to NASCAR and the stock cars coming there,” Wood said. “One of those officials gave us an original brick from the track. That was pretty special.”
The Woods’ Ford, driven in the inaugural Brickyard 400 by Morgan Shepherd, was pretty special too. He finished 10th in that historic race and backed it up with another 10th in the second running.
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team, even after adopting a limited schedule, has kept Indianapolis on its schedule every year.
“It’s one of the most prestigious races we run,” Wood said.
Over the years, seven drivers have driven the No. 21 at Indy, including Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Bill Elliott and Trevor Bayne, who has driven the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford the past three years and will be behind the wheel again this weekend.
Wood Brothers Racing PR
His career has been spectacular. It’s highlighted with 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, and a pair of NASCAR championships in each of the sport’s top-two divisions.
After ending his consecutive starts streak last season that last since 1993, Bobby Labonte’s career is slowly winding down. Last year, Labonte ended his stint with JTG Daugherty Racing. Since then, he has raced just twice this season – both events being restrictor plate races at Daytona. However, the 50-year-old is not calling it quits just yet.
Tommy Baldwin Racing gave Labonte a call – asking for him to drive a third car for them at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this weekend’s event. TBR usually races two Chevrolet’s on a weekly basis with Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson behind the wheel. But this weekend will be different as they will have a veteran behind the wheel.
“The big thing for Tommy (Baldwin) is - he's wanting to start a third team. Anytime you start a team or you want to accelerate your program, as you're moving forward, hopefully moving up, you put people in positions that they might not have been in before,” Labonte said on a NASCAR teleconference Wednesday afternoon. “It's just building his operation up. Anyway, I'm trying to help him out, get to that point. Hopefully he can get to that point one day with a third team like he wants to get to. If it works out for him, I wish him all the luck.”
As he will be helping Baldwin, Labonte will also be getting to experience the yard of bricks for possibly the final team in his career. Along with four-time champion, Jeff Gordon, Labonte is the only other driver to race in every single race at the Brickyard.
In order for Labonte’s No. 37 Accell Construction car to race on Sunday, he will need to qualify inside of the top-36 as the car has no previous attempts this season. There is no word on who the team is looking at to fill the seat for the third car next year, but Labonte might just get a call from Baldwin again this year – putting him in the seat a few more times.
Previously, Circle Sport Racing team owner, Joe Falk, stated that he was open to putting Labonte back into the seat of the No. 33 Chevrolet several more times this year if sponsorship is found.
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who drives the No. 88 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, is teaming up with Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who wears the No. 88 in the National Football League, to raffle off the ultimate sports experience called “Weekend With The 88s.” Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.
For the price of only $18.88, fans can purchase a ticket and enter the drawing for “Weekend With The 88s.” One lucky winner and a guest will be treated to a three-day experience that includes racing, football, and private meet-n-greets with the No. 88s – Earnhardt Jr. and Olsen. The total package includes:
FRI., OCT. 24
- Private tour of JR Motorsports in Mooresville, N.C. • $200 gift certificate to JR Nation retail store • Meet-n-greet with Olsen at Bank of America Stadium • Behind-the-scenes guided tour of Bank of America Stadium
SAT., OCT. 25
- Round-trip helicopter flight from Charlotte to Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (weather permitting) • Meet-n-greet with Earnhardt Jr. at Martinsville Speedway • Garage passes and grandstand tickets for the Kroger 200 Camping World Truck Series race
SUN., OCT. 26
- Parking pass, pregame field passes, and premium tickets for Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Tickets can be purchased at www.WeekendWithThe88s.com. The raffle begins at 10 a.m. ET on July 23, 2014, and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 30, 2014. The winner will be drawn on Oct. 1. Only 8,888 tickets will be sold.
“I met Greg earlier this year, and we wanted to get our foundations working together and offer up a really cool experience for fans who share the same passions as we do,” said Earnhardt Jr. “Weekend With The 88s will be a one-of-a-kind experience, and the best part is it benefits Levine Children’s Hospital, which I know Greg has experienced firsthand the impact it makes on families.”
Olsen’s son, T.J., was born with a congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome in 2012. That led The Greg Olsen Foundation to create HEARTest Yard, a family service that provides families of babies affected by congenital heart disease with a multitude of services, including in-home nursing care, physical therapy and speech therapy.
“The opportunity to partner with Dale Jr. and The Dale Jr. Foundation is a true honor,” said Olsen. “To work with such a successful, respected, and generous family is a privilege, and we look forward to our joint efforts to support our community.”
The Dale Jr. Foundation has made a monumental impact in the local community since its beginning. Dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, with a focus on youth, the resources to achieve extraordinary goals, TDJF has contributed to more than 300 charities nationally and locally, including The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Blessings in a Backpack, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, Ace and TJ’s Grin Kids, and Mooresville Christian Mission.
“We are delighted to partner with two individuals who have been so generous in supporting worthy causes throughout the region,” said Michael Tarwater, CEO of Levine Children’s Hospital. “Levine Children’s Hospital could not have been built without community philanthropy; and, since the hospital opened, outside support has made a huge difference in supporting our research on pediatric diseases, clinical trials, acquisition of new equipment and family support programs. Because families like the Earnhardts and Olsens are so civic-minded, many more children can now stay in this area for highly complex treatments, rather than having to travel long distances for care.”
Before heading to the famed yard of bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his No. 15 RK Motors Toyota, where Clint Bowyer has two top-five and two top-10 finishes in eight starts, the Emporia, Kan., native made a stop in his hometown.
On Saturday, Bowyer hosted the seventh annual “Clint Bowyer ‘s Support Emporia 2014 Charity Event.” The event, which included a golf tournament and auction, raised a little more than $350,000 for the fourth consecutive year.
Proceeds from the event go toward the “79 Fund,” a fund established by Bowyer for the Emporia Community Foundation. Proceeds from previous events have helped fund the construction of the Bowyer Community Building and various other youth-related initiatives throughout the community, including a scholarship at the Flint Hills Technical College
Talk about your work in your hometown:
“It is always such a great event. Everyone at the Emporia Community Foundation and the 79 Fund do such a great job. They do all the hard work. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do in our community. This is my hometown and it’s nice to see that we are able to make a difference for people here. Plus, I love coming home. It’s like a vacation for me.”
What does it mean to race at Indianapolis?
“The history is what you go there for. That place is just so rich and deep in history that you’re ecstatic every time you roll into the place. It’s like, ‘Holy cow, this is Indy.’ A lot of big names and a lot of exposure has always been on the place. It doesn’t matter what you race or how you came up, you’re very fond and very aware of Indianapolis and what that track means to auto racing. It really is cool to be able to race on that race track, but aside from that it’s so hard to get around.”
Which takes longer to prepare for, Daytona or Indianapolis?
I would say Daytona, but it’s not really comparing apples to apples because it’s a restrictor plate track and there are so many things that equate to speed at Daytona and cornering is not one of them. Here, yes, those straghtaways are long, but you gotta be able to get off of them corners. You gotta get off of (turns) two and four and set yourself up for that long straightaway because that’s where all your momentum starts is right there through the center of those two very important corners of this track, whereas Daytona you go down there and you’re working on shaping that bullet as slick as possible and making it fast.
No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Brian Vickers visits one of racing’s most historic venues this weekend when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile race.
The 30-year-old Vickers will make history no matter how his Michael Waltrip Racing team performs on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Sunday’s race marks Vickers’ 300th Sprint Cup Series start in a career that began with a 33rd-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11, 2003. Only 11 drivers from the 43-car field in that race still have fulltime rides in 2014. Vickers also has history on his side on Sunday. Five drivers have won in their 300th Sprint Cup start including a driver in each of the last three seasons.
VICKERS ON 300TH START: “Wow, 300 starts already? That’s pretty hard to believe. I would have never guessed it’s been that many. I just feel extremely blessed. I’ve been with good teams and great people over the years. There are a lot of people who played a role in getting me to where I am today and I’m very appreciative for everyone’s hard work over the years. Making it to 300 starts in this sport is certainly a big milestone and I couldn’t have done it on my own.”
INDIANAPOLIS: “There isn’t much I can say that hasn't already been said about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I haven’t raced a Sprint Cup car at Indy since 2011 so this weekend will be special. We finished fourth there in the Nationwide Series last year. I’ve been fortunate enough to race at the world’s best tracks like Daytona, Spa in Belgium and others and Indy ranks up there.”
WINNING AT INDY: “It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you grew up in stock car racing or open wheel or outside our country, everyone recognizes winning at Indianapolis as a major career achievement. That trophy is one that you will put on the mantle.”
Kevin Harvick grew up racing go-karts in Bakersfield, California, dreaming of his turn to one day emulate his childhood hero Rick Mears, the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and three-time IndyCar Series champion who also grew up in Bakersfield. His dream was to win the historic Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But, the driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) saw his career take a different path that led him to NASCAR instead of IndyCar.
The path that led to NASCAR meant that Harvick would have to slightly amend his dream of winning at Indianapolis. Instead of winning the Indianapolis 500, he would instead try to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400.
In 2003, in just his third attempt at the Brickyard 400, Harvick made his dream of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway a reality, and he did it in grand fashion. Harvick won the pole with a speed of 184.343 mph, led 33 laps and beat runner-up driver Matt Kenseth to the finish line by 2.758 seconds.
Since 2003, the 14-year Sprint Cup veteran has come close to scoring additional wins at Indianapolis. In 2006, Harvick started 10th, led 18 laps and finished third. In 2010, he started ninth, led five laps and finished runner-up to Jamie McMurray by less than two seconds.
Harvick would like nothing more than to score his second Sprint Cup win at Indianapolis in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. A win Sunday also would give Harvick his third win of the 2014 Sprint Cup season. He scored his first Sprint Cup win of 2014 in the season’s second race at Phoenix International Raceway and his second win at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in the Southern 500.
Only Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski have scored three wins in 2014. Harvick, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr., each have two wins and Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin have one win apiece. In total, the 2014 season has seen 11 different winners through the first 19 Sprint Cup races.
Under the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, the top-15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races will earn a spot in the Chase. The 16th position will go to the points leader following the Sept. 6 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway if that driver does not have a victory.
While Harvick and his No. 4 team are virtually locked into the Chase for the Sprint Cup field, gaining additional bonus points from wins is now their top priority through the next seven races starting this weekend at Indianapolis.
Danica Patrick probably has one of the best records of a driver never to win the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Six top-10 finishes in seven races, including a fourth in 2005 and a third in 2009.
Five times she started in the top-10, and she basically holds just about every record for a woman in the 500.
But having focused on her big transition to NASCAR since 2011, the 500 is now just a memory.
Which brings us to the Brickyard 400 – the 160-lap stock car race which she debuted in last year, finishing 30th. And while it’s 100 miles shorter than the 500, a lot of people who have dreamed about winning the 500 have actually won the 400.
Jeff Gordon, a four-time winner of the Brickyard 400, grew up wanting to race IndyCars before he moved south to take on NASCAR. John Menard tried unsuccessfully for 20 years to win the Indy 500 as an owner, then won the ‘400’ with son Paul in 2011. Jimmie Johnson, who was a fan of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, thought about driving in the 500 but has managed to win the 400 four times.
Patrick’s teammates have experienced Indy, as well, with Tony Stewart failing to win the 500 in five starts, but capturing the 400 in 2005 and 2007. Kevin Harvick also grew up as a Mears fan and took the checkered flag in the 400 in 2003. And Kurt Busch has never won either race but this past May attempted “The Double,” finishing sixth in the Indy 500 and 40th later that day in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. An engine failure prematurely ended his attempt to complete The Double at Charlotte.
Patrick and crew chief Tony Gibson will bring a brand new No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS to the Brickyard 400 as chassis No. 10-894 has never been used. When they brought brand new Chassis No. 10-837 to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May, Patrick started ninth and finished seventh.
Patrick hopes that luck will continue at Indy and she can score another top-10 finish at a place that has been so good to her in the last decade.