Steven B. Wilson


Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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"NASCAR offers its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Denny Darnell. For decades working with Bristol Motor Speedway, RJ Reynolds, NEXTEL and Dodge, Denny was a familiar and friendly face in media centers and NASCAR garages throughout the country. He approached his job seriously and professionally, but few could bring laughter like Denny. He was a public relations institution, and will be greatly missed."


Athenian Motorsports, LLC is proud to announce it will field a Chevrolet Camaro full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and a Chevrolet Silverado in all 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2015 with engines provided by Hendrick Motorsports.
Georgia native John Wes Townley will compete full-time for AMS in the Truck Series and run a partial schedule on the
circuit previously known as the Nationwide Series.
A search is underway to find a driver with sponsorship who
will pilot the No. 25 Camaro in the remaining Xfinity Series events.
“I can’t wait to get to Daytona in February,” said Townley who is expected to run 18 to 21 races in 2015 for AMS in NASCAR’s junior circuit. “I had a chance at the end of the 2014 season to work with my new crew chiefs. I think that time together is going to pay off big-time for us at the beginning of the new season.”

Veteran crew chiefs Mike Ford and Michael Shelton will continue to call the shots for AMS. Ford, a multiple-race winner in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, will return to lead the Xfinity team. Michael Shelton, who guided James Buescher to a NASCAR Truck Series title, will direct Townley’s 2015 effort in the Truck Series.
Athenian Motorsports will call Concord, N.C. home, beginning in January. That’s when the second-year organization will take possession of the 43,000 square foot facility adjacent to the Concord Regional Airport that currently houses Richard Petty Motorsports.
“Between the all-star lineup of talent we have put together, the new facility we’ll be working out next year and the fact that we will have access to the horsepower from the same company that produced the engines for this year’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series champions, I’m confident the pieces are in place for John Wes to have a breakthrough season in 2015,” said Athenian Motorsports vice president of operations Mike Hamlin.

Athenian Motorsports PR


Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) today revealed leading videogame and entertainment brand, Xbox, assumes the role of official ‘wildcard’ entry partner in the Sydney NRMA 500 V8 Supercars race this December.

Two-time V8 Supercars champion and Australian racing legend Marcos Ambrose – who is returning to Australia after eight years in the US NASCAR circuit to race the Sydney NRMA 500 season finale – appeared at a launch event this morning at Lakeside Park in Brisbane to unveil the Xbox Racing Ford Falcon FG he will drive on December 5-7.

Through partnerships with the Bathurst 1000 and other major global racing events, long term association with  Mark Skaife as a racing advisor, and a decade-long investment in the award-winning Forza Motorsport franchise, Xbox has a long history and commitment to racing and racing fans. The custom Xbox livery, revealed today at Lakeside on Ambrose’s car, was created by Forza Motorsport developer Turn 10 Studios using the livery creation tools available to players of the game. Beginning this weekend, racing and gaming fans alike now have the chance to trial the Xbox Racing Ford Falcon FG in-game which will be sent to all Forza Motorsport 5 players.

“The whole package has come together perfectly,” commented Marcos Ambrose, who only arrived back in Australia from the final NASCAR race in the US a mere 48 hours before the launch. “I have been eager to get back in the V8 Supercar and I’m a gamer myself, so to head to Sydney with Xbox as our major partner is a fantastic outcome. Today is the first time the Xbox / DJR team have been together, so no doubt we will work really hard over the next week and arrive in Sydney ready to go.”

Jeremy Hinton, Business Group Lead for Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft Australia, said: “We know our fans are passionate about racing – especially V8 supercars. This is the latest step in our journey of contributing towards the racing world in a very real and tangible way, and follows our Bathurst 1000 wildcard entry last season. We also gave Xbox fans the first chance to drive a laser-scanned replica of the Bathurst track in Forza Motorsport 5 to celebrate the occasion, which we know they loved as it has been driven by over 2.6 million gamers worldwide to date. Coupled with our partnership with Foxtel – the broadcasting home of V8 racing in 2015 – we truly believe Xbox One is the home of racing in Australia.”

“Once we knew that Marcos could get back here to race and V8 Supercars confirmed the entry it was full steam ahead.” Team Principal and five time champion Dick Johnson said. “We will run three cars at Homebush so we were focussed heavily on securing a great partner to launch Ambrose’s return to the series. To have such a high profile brand as Xbox on the car in Sydney is the icing on the cake.”

Penske Racing/ Dick Johnson Racing PR


The No. 17 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during pre-qualifying inspection Nov. 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This infraction is a P3 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.3 of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:

Violations resulting in P3 penalties tend to fall between serious and intermediate in nature. While they might include general “categories” of infractions similar to those in P4 (e.g. unauthorized parts; failing to meet specs; etc.), they tend to pertain more to secondary componentry or systems; modifications of lessor significance; go/no-go measurement failures of an intermediate nature.

This infraction violates Sections:

12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;

20-12Suspension: All front end and rear suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension/drive line component beyond normal rotation or suspension/drive line travel.

As a result of these violations, crew chief Mike Kelley has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015. Additionally, car chief Patrick Magee has also been placed on NASCAR probation for six months starting Jan. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015.


Cheez-It™ 355 at The Glen in 2015

Published in Speedway News
Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:06

Watkins Glen International and Kellogg Company announced Cheez-It® renews its place as the title sponsor of The Glen’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. WGI’s marquee event, Cheez-It 355 at The Glenreturns August 6-9.

“We’re excited to welcome back the Kellogg Company with Cheez-It® as our title sponsor for the NASCAR event week,” stated Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup. “They have been a great partner and we look forward to continuing the tradition for our fans in 2015.”

This will be the company’s third-consecutive year as the race’s entitlement sponsor, while the iconic snack brand’s parent company, the Kellogg Company, has been involved with NASCAR since 1991.

“NASCAR provides a great way for Cheez-It® crackers to reach our fans and Watkins Glen provides an amazing venue that is unlike any other,” said Melissa Pawlowicz, senior director of integrated promotions for the Kellogg Company. “Cheez-It® is proud to be associated with ‘The Glen’ and to play a role in bringing the excitement of the Cheez-It™ 355 to life.”


Kevin Harvick earned his first NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series championship and the MOOG® Steering and Suspension brand’s 49th straight with a thrilling victory in Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.

Harvick’s win in the MOOG-equipped No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS extends a Cup title string that began in 1966 with David Pearson and the No. 6 Dodge and includes many of the biggest names in professional stock car racing history. MOOG Steering and Suspension components are manufactured by Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML).

The 38-year-old Harvick, who made perhaps the biggest decision of his career in moving to Stewart-Haas Racing at the beginning of the season, passed Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 Toyota Camry with seven laps remaining and held off Ryan Newman’s hard-charging No. 31 Chevrolet to win the first championship under NASCAR’s new four-round Chase format. The MOOG-equipped No. 4 car finished the year with five wins, 14 top fives and 20 top 10s.

“Kevin has been one of the most successful and popular drivers throughout his 14-year Cup racing career, so it was only a matter of time until he added his name to the list of greats who have won it all while relying on world-class MOOG parts,” said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “It was a fantastic ending to the Chase, and we’re thrilled MOOG once again came out on top.”

MOOG Steering and Suspension is the preferred brand of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, and MOOG components are recognized as the automotive service industry’s “Problem Solver,” with innovative parts that improve on original designs by providing increased durability, enhanced performance and easier installation. The MOOG product line includes an extensive range of high-quality steering and suspension components – including ball joints, tie rod ends, control arms, idler and pitman arms, sway bar links, complete strut assemblies, hub assemblies and universal joints – covering virtually any foreign-nameplate or domestic vehicle. These parts are available through thousands of automotive service locations and parts providers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“Automotive repair professionals recognize the vital role our NASCAR program plays in the development of parts that provide superior durability and performance,” Proud said.

For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at

Federal Mogul PR

Sprint Cup racing’s youngest crew chief is now also one if its most celebrated, as Luke Lambert of the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet team clinched Federal-Mogul Motorparts’ $100,000 MOOG® Steering and Suspension “Problem Solver of the Year” Award during Sunday’s season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway. Federal-Mogul Motorparts is a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML).

The 31-year-old Lambert, in just his second full year as a Cup Series crew chief and first with driver Ryan Newman, finished 2014 with a series-leading four weekly MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Awards. He will receive his $100,000 Problem Solver of the Year check and a handcrafted MOOG ball joint trophy during the NASCAR Myers Brothers Award Ceremony December 4 in Las Vegas.

The MOOG Problem Solver of the Race and Problem Solver of the Year awards recognize the vital in-race contributions of Sprint Cup crew chiefs. The weekly Problem Solver of the Race award is presented to the crew chief whose car posts the greatest second-half improvement in average lap time while finishing on the lead lap. The prestigious year-end Problem Solver award is presented to the crew chief with the best overall performance throughout the season. Four crew chiefs – Jimmy Fennig (No. 99 Ford, Carl Edwards), Chris Heroy (No. 42 Chevrolet, Kyle Larson), Chad Knaus (No. 48 Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson) and Steve Letarte (No. 88 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.) – tied for second in the final Problem Solver standings with three wins each. Eighteen different crew chiefs won a weekly MOOG award in 2014.

“Luke and Ryan turned a lot of heads as they started to climb the Chase standings with a string of outstanding performances at Pocono, Dover, Kansas and Talladega,” said Michael Proud, director of marketing, North America, Federal-Mogul Motorparts. “In each of those races, Luke and the RCR crew made critical adjustments that helped maximize the performance of their MOOG-equipped steering and suspension. That level of problem solving excellence is what our customers expect from MOOG parts, and it’s a skill we celebrate each week through this innovative awards platform.”

Winner of weekly MOOG Problem Solver honors in Sunday’s race was Paul Wolfe, crew chief for Brad Keselowski and the MOOG-equipped No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion. The 2 car delivered a race-best 0.469-second improvement in finishing third at Homestead. Wolfe finished the year with two weekly MOOG awards.

MOOG Steering and Suspension is the preferred brand of professional technicians and NASCAR crew chiefs, and MOOG components are recognized as the automotive service industry’s “Problem Solver,” with innovative parts that improve on original designs by providing increased durability, enhanced performance and easier installation. NASCAR Cup champions have driven to victory with MOOG parts for an unprecedented 49 straight years.

For more information regarding the MOOG Problem Solver awards and MOOG products, visit the brand’s technician-focused website or contact your MOOG supplier. Like MOOG on Facebook at

Federal Mogul PR

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra, announced today the recipients of the 2014 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grants. The grants, which are awarded to K-12 public and charter schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson’s respective hometowns of Muskogee, Oklahoma, El Cajon, California, and where they currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, totaled $556,623. 

“We are now in our sixth year of supporting public education, yet the enormous need continues to amaze us,” said Chandra Johnson.  “All of the applications were impressive.  It is exciting to read through them and learn about the new and innovative opportunities educators want to provide to their students.  We are honored to be able to fund so many deserving projects this year.”

The announcement took place at Garinger High School.  Garinger is one of five schools in the Charlotte area to receive a Champions Grant.  Students and staff from the five local schools were in attendance as the Johnsons made the announcement on behalf of the Foundation and program partner Lowe’s.  The Johnsons shared that these schools, along with seven others from Muskogee and the San Diego area, have been selected to receive the grants.

“Chani and I are very excited for this year’s projects to get off the ground,” said Jimmie Johnson.  “The Champions Grant program is great because we get to see the impact of the projects from start to finish.  We appreciate being able to play a role in the education of students in our hometowns and here in Charlotte.”

This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grant awards included $257,870 toward science and technology needs, $168,316 for health and fitness activities, $80,458 toward arts programs and $49,979 toward literacy initiatives.

The 2014 Champions Grants were awarded to the following schools:

North Carolina

  • Garinger High School (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Rocky River Elementary School (Concord, North Carolina)
  • Rocky River High School (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • W.M. Irvin Elementary School (Concord, North Carolina)


  • Chaparral High School (El Cajon, California)
  • El Capitan High School (Lakeside, California)
  • Grossmont High School (El Cajon, California)
  • Loma Portal Elementary School (San Diego, California)


  • Muskogee Public Schools (Muskogee, Okla.)
  • Sadler Arts Academy (Muskogee, Okla.)
  • Tony Goetz Elementary School (Muskogee, Okla.)

The funded projects for 2014 range from constructing an outdoor classroom and kitchen to creating a district-wide e-library to creating a visual arts program.  Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers.

Nearly $3.7 million has been contributed through the Champions Grant program since 2009.

To see a detailed list of the 2014 Champions Grant projects, please visit

Jimmie Johnson Foundation PR

LiftMaster partners with Hendrick Motorsports

Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Thursday, 20 November 2014 10:01

LiftMaster, the number-one brand of professionally installed residential garage door openers, will join 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports beginning with the 2015 NASCAR season when it will become a primary sponsor of driver Kasey Kahne and his No. 5 Chevrolet SS team.

The new relationship will feature LiftMaster, which is headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois, as a primary sponsor in three Sprint Cup races annually and as an associate-level partner in all other events. The agreement covers the 2015, 2016 and 2017 NASCAR seasons.

“We’re excited to establish a new partnership with Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports in 2015,” said Bob Markwart, president of LiftMaster Americas. “Kasey is a threat to win every weekend, and we’re looking forward to joining the No. 5 team’s pursuit of a championship next year.”

In 2015, the No. 5 LiftMaster Chevrolet SS will appear in Sprint Cup Series races May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 11 at Kentucky Speedway and Oct. 18 at Kansas Speedway.

“Whether you’re talking products, services or the way customers are treated, LiftMaster has a reputation as the industry leader,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. “Having used LiftMaster both at Hendrick Motorsports and in our dealerships, we know first-hand the emphasis they put on quality and innovation. We look forward to working together to build a NASCAR program that reflects their brand and drives business.”

Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne, 34, has earned at least one victory each season while securing three consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career wins in NASCAR’s top division, including five in three full seasons with the No. 5 team.

“It means a lot to have support from a great company like LiftMaster,” Kahne said. “The No. 5 team has high expectations for 2015, and they’ll be with us as the primary sponsor at three tracks where we’re traditionally very fast. All of us are looking forward to representing them throughout the season and developing a successful long-term relationship.”

Hendrick Motorsports PR

Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne have agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep the driver with the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team through the end of the 2018 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

“It’s extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We’re committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come.”

Kahne, 34, originally signed with Hendrick Motorsports in April 2010 and officially joined the team’s four-car stable for the 2012 season. Over the past three years (2012-14), he ranks among the top-10 drivers in Sprint Cup wins (5), pole positions (4), top-five finishes (26) and laps led (1,177). The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career wins in NASCAR’s top division.

“I’ve found a home at Hendrick Motorsports,” said Kahne, who since 2012 has earned at least one victory each season while securing three consecutive Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. “We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we’re headed as a team and a company. It’s the right place for me, and I’m looking forward to being here for a long time.”

Kahne’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire following the 2015 NASCAR season.

Hendrick Motorsports PR