Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

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Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville

Published in Xfinity Series News
Friday, 26 August 2016 20:22

Pure Michigan 400 Starting Lineup

Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Friday, 26 August 2016 18:46
Smithfield's Helping Hungry Homes truck pulled into Jackson this morning for the 24th stop on the 2016 nationwide hunger-relief tour to donate more than 25,000 pounds of protein to the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. The donation will provide more than 100,000 servings and help the Food Bank continue to provide meals to the South Central Michigan community, where one in six people suffers from hunger.
 
Smithfield partnered with Meijer and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to present the donation during an event at the Jackson Meijer, 3333 E. Michigan Ave. Speakers discussed the importance of donations like these in South Central Michigan.
 
"The King" of racing, Richard Petty, who has partnered with the Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes program to donate thousands of pounds of protein over recent years, was present to discuss the importance of these donations from Smithfield and to raise awareness about the necessity of providing assistance to our neighbors in need.
 
Helping Hungry Homes, now in its eighth year, is Smithfield's coast-to-coast tour to help Americans become more food secure. This year, the program will help fight hunger through more than 35 large-scale protein donations to food banks across the United States totaling more than 3.5 million servings. To date, Helping Hungry Homes has provided more than 40 million servings of protein to food banks across America.
 
"We truly appreciate community partners like Smithfield and Meijer who help make our work at the Food Bank of South Central Michigan possible," said Patty Parker, executive director at the Food Bank. "Food insecurity continues to be an issue in Jackson County, with more than 24,000 people not knowing where their next meal is coming from on any given day. We thank Smithfield for their amazing donation of protein. It will go a long way in meeting the needs of those who are hungry in this community."
 
"Food is such a fundamental need, but unfortunately, it's something that many of our neighbors are struggling to put on their tables," said Meijer Spokeswoman Christina Fecher. "As a retailer with a mission to feed people, hunger has become an important philanthropic focus. We are pleased to partner with Smithfield to help the Food Bank of South Central Michigan make a difference in the community."
 
"Smithfield is proud to partner with Meijer and RPM to honor the Food Bank of South Central Michigan and present this donation through our Helping Hungry Homes program," said Dennis Pittman, Smithfield senior director of hunger relief. "As a food company, it's our responsibility to feed our neighbors in need. Through this donation, we are proud to provide wholesome protein to families and individuals throughout South Central Michigan, where more than one in five children suffer from hunger."
 
"RPM is honored to participate in this donation during Michigan race weekend," said Richard Petty. "So many race fans are loyal customers of Smithfield and shop at Meijer, so it's great to see the two organizations partnering to give back to the communities that support them, and our race team, throughout the year."

Smithfield PR

Martinsville Speedway’s Green Flag Experience will once again be in championship form as 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch is scheduled to appear prior to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on October 30.

Busch, who swept the spring weekend at Martinsville, joins Kasey Kahne as drivers set to take part in moderated question-and-answer sessions.

“Kyle Busch is a tremendous talent and he proved this past spring that he knows a thing or two about getting around Martinsville Speedway,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “We believe the Green Flag Experience the premier pre-race experience for fans and adding a name like Kyle Busch further proves that point.”

Not only has Busch won twice at Martinsville as a driver, he’s also a winning team owner, with Denny Hamlin and Darrell Wallace Jr. picking up wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. .

Additional drivers participating in the Green Flag Experience will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition to the moderated question-and-answer sessions, the Green Flag Experience also gives fans the chance to watch driver introductions from the track, along with a morning full of fun and excitement on the track and under the large tent in The Plaza, located on the hill behind the souvenir display area.

Fans have the opportunity to walk the frontstretch on race morning, sign the start/finish line, a photo opportunity in mock Victory Lane, enjoy music, games and prizes along with doughnuts, Danishes, coffee and juice. The cost of the Green Flag Experience is $50. Prices increase race month.

The driver question-and-answer sessions, food, music, games and prizes, and show cars will be held in The Plaza from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. The track portion will open at 10:00 and will remain open until the finish of driver introductions.

Admission to the Green Flag Experience does not include a ticket for STP 500.

Advance ticket prices for the STP 500 begin at just $45.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Toy State, a toy industry leader and innovator of licensed and highly-stylized 'lights and sound' and radio-controlled (R/C) toy vehicles, will unveil the latest products from its flagship Nikko™ and Road Rippers® brands this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Inked to global licensing agreements with NASCAR and various NASCAR teams in late 2015, the company will debut its NASCAR-themed cars in advance of this weekend's Sprint Cup race.

"As both a licensee and sponsor, our relationship with the NASCAR industry has been extremely positive, and we are thrilled to see this partnership come to life within the Nikko and Road Rippers brands," said Andy Friess, Toy State President. "Our toy vehicles bring the perfect combination of performance, speed and fun, and we're confident NASCAR fans will love them!"

The Nikko NASCAR R/C cars are built to 1:16 scale with full-function radio-control action, while Road Rippers NASCAR® Come-Back Racers® feature motorized driving with real NASCAR sound effects. Both assortments showcase the authentic NASCAR paint schemes of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Regan Smith and Chase Elliot.

In addition to NASCAR, Toy State's best in class 'Lights & Sound' and R/C brand portfolio features licensing partnerships with leading global automotive, lifestyle and entertainment brands including Caterpillar®, Hot Wheels®, DC Comics™, Barbie®, Thomas and Friends™, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™ and WWE®.

Toy State is currently in its second year as primary sponsor of Tommy Baldwin Racing's No. 7 Nikko RC/Toy State Chevrolet, driven by Regan Smith.

ToyState PR
Dallas Police Department Officer Jorge Barrientos, who was wounded in the July 7 ambush in the city's downtown that killed five officers, will be joining Fort Worth Police Department Officer Matt Pearce, who was shot multiple times during a manhunt in March, to serve as the co-Grand Marshals of Saturday night's Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
 Barrientos and Pearce will provide the command to the drivers to start their engines for the resumption of the Firestone 600 (8 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Network) and highlight the various salutes to law enforcement officers during the speedway's "Back The Blue Night." The two officers also will be acknowledged at the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers' meeting as well as address the drivers for their support of law enforcement with the tributes.
 
Barrientos, a four-year member of the Dallas Police Department, was part of the Fox Trot Unit that was handling traffic at the peaceful protest march held downtown July 7 when the ambush began. The 28-year-old was shot in the left hand and had shrapnel in his chest, but persevered and began providing help to the fallen officers. Ultimately, three of the five officers that were killed came from his unit.
 
Pearce, a 36-year-old who has been with the Fort Worth Police Department since 2009, was shot multiple times March 15 after a police chase for a wanted man and his son ended in a wooded area in far west Fort Worth. He was shot multiple times, including in the cheek, arm, chest and leg, and his injuries included a bruised heart and fractured femur. It was considered a miracle he survived the shooting and he spent two months in the hospital before being released in May.
 
"It's an honor to have these great police officers with us for the completion of the Firestone 600," Verizon IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal said. "They are true heroes of this great country that make us very proud and keep us safe. I am thrilled that Texas Motor Speedway has this 'Back the Blue' initiative going this weekend and I can't wait to get down there and personally thank all the police officers and first responders in the DFW area."
 
The drivers and INDYCAR sanctioning body have joined Texas Motor Speedway in expressing their support of the dedicated service of law enforcement officers through special salutes.
 
The teams competing in the Firestone 600 will carry a 5-inch wide "Back The Blue" decal on a non-specific area of the Indy cars.
 
The drivers will don ball caps of various local, state and national law enforcement agencies during pre-race activities to exhibit their support. The local departments scheduled to be represented with ball caps are the Dallas PD, Fort Worth PD, Addison PD, Arlington PD, Benbrook PD, Burleson PD, Carrollton PD, Crowley PD, Farmers Branch PD, Flower Mound PD, Fort Worth SWAT, Irving PD, Lewisville PD, Northlake PD, Parker County Sheriff's Department, Roanoke PD and Willow Park PD in addition to the U.S. Marshal, FBI, Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety and Austin PD.
 
The driver also will autograph the hat worn by them following pre-race activities and each will be returned to the respective departments as a sign of gratitude.
 
Addison Police Chief Paul Spencer and several of his officers will be special guests of Dale Coyne Racing and team manager Darren Crouser, who has been friends with the chief since the 1990s. Also, Chief Spencer will be manning the pit sign during stops for the No. 19 car of Gabby Chavez.
 
 Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi kicked off the "Back The Blue" salutes Aug. 17 when he made special visits with Texas Motor Speedway to the Dallas and Fort Worth police departments and personally thanked them for their service.
 
As part of "Back The Blue Night," Texas Motor Speedway is offering all first responders and one guest free admission to the Firestone 600. All they need to do is show proper ID at the Gate 4 ticket office booth to receive their race tickets.
 
The Firestone 600 is the resumption of the race that was postponed Saturday, June 11, due to weather and rescheduled for the following day. A total of 71 of the scheduled 248 laps were run June 12 before the race was suspended due to inclement weather. The race, which now is in the championship stretch of the season as the third-to-last race, will resume on Lap 72 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver James Hinchcliffe leading.

TMS PR
TriStar Motorsports announces Tomy Drissi's return as the driver of the No. 14 Toyota for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America.
 
Drissi drove the No. 14 Arthritis Foundation Toyota for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen earlier this month. During that event, Drissi was involved in an on-track incident which resulted in minor injuries forcing Drissi to withdraw from participating at Mid-Ohio. Having recently received NASCAR medical clearance, Drissi will return to the seat of the No. 14 Arthritis Foundation Toyota this weekend.

TMI PR

Stanton Barrett is a man of many talents.

From racing stock cars to performing professional stunts across Hollywood’s studios, there isn’t much that Barrett himself hasn’t embraced at one point or another.

But with the NASCAR XFINITY Series set to return to Road America for Saturday afternoon’s Road America 180 fueled by Johnsonville, the Bishop, California native returns to the XFINITY Series scene on the heels of back-to-back top-20 finishes in his most recent races at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course respectively.

And while Barrett is a fan of road racing, it’s the intense layout and length of Road America that Barrett not only finds challenging, but fun too.

This weekend, Barret will drive the No. 99 XCalibur Pit School / B.J. McLeod Motorsports Ford Mustang not only looking for another solid finish this season, but better his previous outings at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn race track.

“Road America is one of my favorite tracks, so I can’t wait to get there this weekend,” said Barrett who will make his fifth start of the season this weekend. “It’s a great town with great fans who really embrace the area when the NASCAR XFINITY Series comes to town. We’ve had a good couple weeks, so I’m hoping that can continue this weekend.”

While most tracks are known for local and national chain of motels and hotels, Road America is known for its scenic routes filled with iconic resorts and scenery. Particularly, Barrett is a fan of the Siebekken Resort and encourages fans to experience its greatness for themselves.

“The Siebekken Resort is one of my favorite destination places while at Road America,” added Barret. “The view is great and the people are wonderful and the accommodations are stellar. It’s where I like to call home for the weekend and I encourage the fans to check it out for themselves.”

Knowing he’ll have plenty of rest in familiar and comfortable territory this weekend, Barrett will make his fifth start at Road America this weekend and looking to better a track best of 17th earned in his track debut in 2010 driving for longtime friend and owner Rick Ware.

It’s because of his friendship with Ware that he met McLeod who helped fuse the partnership together at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago where Barrett shined in torrential rain to earn a strong finish.

Not expecting to be dosed by inclement weather this weekend, Barrett just plans to hone his skills at Road America while being a good teammate to fellow drivers Scott Heckert and McLeod.

“The guys busted their tails for me at Mid-Ohio,” Barrett added. “I wanted to do well and the guys gutted it out through the hard rain to never give up. We came out of there in better shape than when we started the race. With a few races together, they know what I’m looking for and vice-versa, so I think we’ll be in good shape from practice to qualifying and the race. We’ll just hope and do what we know to do.”

McLeod who owns the No. 99 XCalibur Pit School Ford Mustang that Barrett will be driving says having the voice of an experienced road racer like Barrett available will be instrumental to the program overall as they look to strengthen their road racing program.

“Stanton made our team better road racers at Mid-Ohio,” said McLeod. “He knows what he wants and it’s because of that we all succeed. I think he’ll be beneficial to Scott and myself this weekend. Scott has some experience at Road America and I have none, so it will be nice to have Stanton’s ear as I need it. We’re just hoping we have a good run with all the cars on Saturday afternoon.”

Joining XCalibur Pit School as marketing partners this weekend at Road America, Lilly Trucking will serve as an associate marketing partner for the third and final road course of the year.

In 25 years of XFINITY Series competition, Barrett has 202 starts to his credit with a career-best finish of fifth at Atlanta Motor Speedway driving for car owners Kenneth and Dan Shaver. He has four starts at Road America (Wisc.) in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively all for Rick Ware Racing. 

BJ McLeod Motorsports PR

Trekking to the third and final road course on the NASCAR XFINITY Series tour this weekend at Road America (Wisc.), driver B.J. McLeod looks to make it his best road course performance in Saturday afternoon’s Road America 180 fueled by Johnsonville.

And while McLeod admits he’s not sure what to expect this weekend, the driver of the No. 78 B.J. McLeod Motorsports Ford Mustang wants to have a solid finish on the heels of a 19th place run at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last Friday night.

“The result at Bristol was something we needed,” said McLeod. “We battled with the handling of the car throughout the race, but we worked hard throughout the race and we were able to work through the changes and take advantage of some late race attrition to match our best finish of the year. That was a good boost we needed.”

Reverting back to road course form at Road America this weekend, McLeod is keeping his expectations modest while utilizing the on-track time to not only learn the course, but plan ahead and form a strategy for race day.

“With Road America being relatively over four miles long, I have a lot to learn in a short amount of time and only 45 laps to get it done, it will be interesting,” McLeod joked. “In all seriousness, if we can get out of Road America with a solid finish, I’ll be happy and ready to get back to oval racing.”

In two road course races this year, McLeod scored a best finish of 26th at Watkins Glen (N.Y.), and most recently at Mid-Ohio, he climbed from his 38th place qualifying spot to finish 27th in a rain-soaked Mid-Ohio 200.

Running in both the dry and the wet and making lefts and rights for the first time in his Motorsports career, McLeod hopes he can take the finesse he learned earlier this month and apply it to Road America.

“Before Watkins Glen, I never really knew what to expect on a road course, but I got fast with every lap I made on both tracks, even in the wet. This weekend, I expect more of the same and I look forward to working with my teammates too.”

Speaking of teammates, McLeod will be in good company for Saturday’s Road America 180. Scott Heckert returns to the No. 15 B.J. McLeod Motorsports / Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang for his third XFINITY Series race, while longtime veteran Stanton Barrett will drive the No. 99 XCaliber Ford Mustang.

With both drivers having an enormous road course background, McLeod hopes to lean on both of them for guidance around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn race track.

“Scott did an amazing job at Watkins Glen earlier this month and Stanton considers Road America one of his favorite places, so I’m looking forward to leaning on them for advice and letting me know what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. Overall though, start to finish I think it will be a good weekend.”

After spending 11 weeks 21st in the XFINITY point standings, McLeod leaped inside the top-20 two races ago and with plenty of racing still on the schedule, McLeod is hopeful to climb a few more positions by year’s end.

“We’ve been picking away at it,” said McLeod. “Good finishes will help us as we try to leap our way a position or two by Homestead in November. We’re in a critical stretch right now of racing and for the most part, we’ve been able to keep the bad luck at bay. If we can continue to do that, we should be good shape come the end.”

Veteran industry crew chief George (David) Ingram Jr. will call the shots for the No. 78 B.J. McLeod Motorsports Ford Mustang for the 23rd race of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season.

For more on B.J. McLeod, please visit his official Facebook page, while also visiting the team’s brand new website at BJMcLeodMotorsports.com. Additionally, the team is growing their presence on Twitter, with the team’s new account @teamBJMcLeod. McLeod also utilizes his personal twitter too, @BJMcLeod78.

BJ McLeod Motorsports PR

Like peanut butter and jelly, or the Southern 500 and Labor Day weekend, country music and NASCAR seemingly go hand in hand. For this year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at Darlington Raceway, Chip Ganassi Racing driver Kyle Larson will be getting a retro makeover on his No. 42 ENEOS Chevrolet Camaro based on a car driven by country music legend Marty Robbins, who also frequently ran the No. 42.

While some sing about the things they’d like to do, Robbins strapped on a helmet and did the thing he loved to do, which was race. The country singer, best known for his songs “El Paso” and “Big Iron”, competed in a total of 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 1966-1982, and also ran one race in the Grand National East Series.

Robbins was a well-respected driver among his competitors and his familiar purple and gold car was always a fan favorite when he raced at the Nashville Fairgrounds. This weekend, ENEOS and Chip Ganassi Racing are excited to bring back Robbins’ familiar paint scheme as Darlington once again celebrates NASCAR’s history with a throwback-themed weekend.

CGR PR