Steven B. Wilson
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The Aspen Dental Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway got off to a roaring start on Friday, with a total of five practice sessions between the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards taking to the 2.66-mile oval track.
Jamie McMurray topped the speed charts at 199.737 mph in the first session of practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 in the No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet. McMurray is a two-time winner, 2009 and 2013, at NASCAR’s Biggest and Baddest track.
Carl Edwards, winner of the past two consecutive NSCS races, said he enters the weekend encouraged by the success displayed by Toyota during February’s Daytona 500, which was won by teammate Denny Hamlin. “It was something like I’ve never been a part of. I don’t know if that same type of thing will work at Talladega, but it’d be hard not to try. We’ve got a really good group that understands what teamwork is.”
NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300 Qualifying Set For Saturday After Two Practice Sessions
Darrell Wallace, Jr.’s No. 6 Kleen Performance Ford led the way in Practice 1 for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300 with a lap of 192.413 mph, while Matt Tifft was fastest in Practice 2, posting a 181.918 mph.
Ty Dillon, who finished sixth in his latest Superspeedway effort at Daytona, hopes to keep recent momentum rolling, as he comes off of a $100,000 Dash for Cash win at Richmond International Raceway. He will be relieving Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS in Sunday’s GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event after Stewart starts.
“It always helps when I’m in both series to be able to get more laps on the race track,” Dillon said. “This weekend will definitely help with this style of racing being pretty similar between both cars.”
Former Talladega Winner Tom Hessert Takes General Tire 200 Pole; Munford, AL Native Bret Holmes Qualifies 13th
Tom Hessert, driving the No. 55 RelaxWraps.com-Cometic Toyota posted a lap of 186.601 mph in the Menards Pole Qualifying for the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards General Tire 200. Munford, AL native Bret Holmes will start 13th, putting up a lap of 185.119 mph.
The Aspen Dental Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway continues as green flag flies for the General Tire 200 at 5 p.m. CDT Friday. Later Friday, NASCAR’s party of the year, Talladega Superspeedway’s the “Big One on the Blvd,” is ready to take center stage in the infamous Talladega infield, as “Dega Nation” will put on their party caps and enjoy all the fun and excitement for both fans and drivers alike. Scheduled are four unique “fan challenges” that will be overseen by an array of NASCAR’s top drivers after they are paraded down legendary Talladega Blvd.
Tomorrow’s schedule includes qualifying for the GEICO 500 as well as time trials and the start of the Sparks Energy 300 at 2 p.m. CDT. Later Saturday evening, Big & Rich featuring Cowboy Troy, will headline the traditional Infield Concert. Country Music’s best-kept secret, Eric Lee Beddingfield, is set to open the event at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free with a GEICO 500 ticket. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 is set for Sunday at 12:00 p.m.
For ticket information, including many upgrade opportunities, log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.TSS PR
Gus Dean, driver of the No. 98 GREE Chevrolet for Mason Mitchell Motorsports (MMM) earned his first career ARCA win in the General Tire 200 at the 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway.
The Bluffton, South Carolina native selected the outside line for the afternoon’s final restart coming with four to go. Veteran Tommy Hessert gave Dean a big push down the backstretch pulling him even with Josh Williams. A wreck behind the leaders would end the race and send the ARCA officials to the video monitor which declared Dean as the race winner.
“I can’t thank GREE and Mason Mitchell Motorsports enough, they gave me a second chance and we didn’t disappoint,” Dean stated in victory lane.
“We had a top notch car all day long in practice, qualifying and the race. It got pretty wild towards the end, especially on the final restart but we were able to stay out of trouble and end up in victory lane.”
“Mason and the team made an excellent pit call during our only pit stop. We lost a little bit of track position and had to comeback through the field. We worked the draft right and everything aligned for us to go to victory lane”
Dean qualified second for the fourth ARCA race of the 2016 season and positioned himself up front all afternoon long before capturing the win.
The race ended three laps early due to severe weather approaching the track.
In February at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) Dean’s ARCA debut lasted a mere two laps as he was caught in the “big one.”
The win comes in only Dean’s second career ARCA Racing Series event and his first race with new marketing partner GREE. Dean led 21 laps en route to victory. The win also marks the first restrictor plate win for third year team Mason Mitchell Motorsports.
The ARCA Racing Series will have two weekends off before heading to ARCA’s home-track, the Toledo Speedway located in Toledo, Ohio for the Menards 200. The race will be live on the American Sports Network beginning Sunday, May 20th at 2:00 p.m. EST. Arcaracing.com will have live timing and scoring for all on-track activity from the half-mile track.
Follow MMM on Social Media: To keep up-to-date with the latest, news, information and race updates, follow MMM racing’s twitter page @MMM_Race and “like” their facebook page at Mason Mitchell Motorsports. Also, follow Mason on his personal Twitter page @TheMasonRaci
Mason Mitchell Motorsports: Is a championship driver development team fielding multiple entries in the ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series for the 2016 season. The team is based out of Mooresville, North Carolina. http://www.masonmitchellmotorsports.com
Darlington Raceway and its food and beverage provider, Americrown Service Corp., are partnering for the second consecutive year to offer fans signature southern food items from the 1975-1984 era as part of the track’s award winning throwback celebration.
All the items will be sold at or below five dollars.
The food items featured will be Brasington Bites, a Darlington Dog and Southern 500 Egg Roll. The track will also bring back the pimento cheese sandwich, which was popular with fans during the 2015 Bojangles’ Southern 500 race weekend. The food as unveiled to the media at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday.
Below are the details of each item:
Pimento Cheese Sandwich - $3.00
- Made with scratch-made Palmetto-style pimento cheese spread served on fresh white bread
Brasington Bites - $4.00
- Ground beef, diced onion, smoked gouda and Yancey’s Fancy buffalo cheddar cheese rolled, breaded and deep fried
Southern 500 Egg Roll - $4.00
- Smoked pulled pork, blend of cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheeses, black eyed peas and collard greens wrapped in a tortilla and deep fried to a golden brown
Darlington Dog - $5.00
- All beef hot dog topped with BBQ chili, bread & butter pickle relish, Darlington white slaw, bacon bits and fried onions
All will be featured in concession stands across the track property for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 event weekend, scheduled for Sept. 2-4, 2016.
“We appreciate Americrown partnering with us for the second year to come up with these signature food items,” Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. “These items embrace the history and culture of Darlington Raceway and the deep southern roots the track had in the 1975-1984 era, which we are celebrating during our throwback weekend.”
All the signature food items have a southern flare with ties to the 1975-1984 era. The Brasington Bites for example are inspired by the Betty Crocker favorite, Hamburger Helper. Hamburger Helper was founded in 1971, but exploded in popularity in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and is still popular in households today.
“The creation of signature food items for Darlington Raceway is something our chefs are really having a lot of fun with,” Americrown Vice President Rishi Nigam said. “For the second consecutive year, we’ve developed food offerings that are fun and affordable for our fans, yet also ties to the historical time period of Darlington’s celebration.”
The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500® is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.
You can keep up with all of the latest news from Darlington Raceway at DarlingtonRaceway.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DarlingtonRaceway and on Twitter at Twitter.com/TooToughToTame. Fans are encouraged to post their Bojangles’ Southern 500 stories and memories at #TraditionContinues, #BojanglesSo500 and #SportClips200.
Darlington Raceway has been recognized by the following:
- 2016 SportsBusiness Journal “Sports Event of the Year” Nominee
- 2015 NMPA Myers Brothers Award
- 2015 NASCAR Marketing Team of the Year
- 2015 NASCAR Track PR Representative of the Year (Dennis Worden)
- 2015 Community Pride Award (presented by the Greater Darlington Chamber of Commerce)
Along with hosting the SCOTT® 150 race entitlement at Chicagoland Speedway, SCOTT® Brand is an official sponsor of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, as well as the title sponsor of ARCA’s Rookie of the Year program - The SCOTT® Rookie Challenge.
This year’s SCOTT® 150 will set the stage for an exciting weekend of NASCAR racing action including Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races. The weekend also kicks off NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, the playoff system used to crown the 2016 Sprint Cup Champion.
"We are proud to continue our relationship with Menards as the 2016 entitlement partner of the SCOTT® 150 ARCA race at Chicagoland Speedway,” said Kimberly Brown, Customer Marketing Manager with Kimberly-Clark Professional. “This major weekend of racing gives us the platform to promote our wiping solutions, SCOTT® Rags In-A-Box and SCOTT® Shop Towels, to a wide audience of DIYers and professional contractors.”
The SCOTT® 150 will celebrate the can-do spirit and pride people take in their craftsmanship by focusing on their September Rags In-A-Box promotion at Menards. SCOTT® invites all professional contractors and DIYers to choose Rags In-A-Box to help with any home improvement project. Stop by any Menards location in order to stock-up.
As part of their sponsorship activation, SCOTT®, alongside Menards, will invite 200 hard-working contractors and their families to serve as the Grand Marshals of the SCOTT® 150. This group will kick off the event, calling out the most famous four words in motorsports: ‘Drivers, start your engines!’
Series officials are excited about the return of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards to Chicagoland Speedway. The 2016 ARCA event at Chicagoland will mark the 16th consecutive appearance of the 64-year-old tour on the 1.5-mile speedway in Joliet, Illinois.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome back the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards and the SCOTT® BRAND in 2016,” said Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway. “Our exciting September weekend will also feature the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, allowing our fans to witness the world’s premier motorsports athletes and also discover the future stars of the sport as they showcase their talents in an action packed weekend.”
In 15 consecutive ARCA races at Chicagoland, there have been no repeat winners among drivers. Former ARCA Chicagoland winners are Ed Berrier (2001), Chad Blount (2002), Frank Kimmel (2003), Kyle Krisiloff (2004), Dawayne Bryan (2005), Steve Wallace (2006), Michael McDowell (2007), Scott Lagasse, Jr. (2008), Justin Lofton (2009), Patrick Sheltra (2010), Ty Dillon (2011), Kevin Swindell (2012), Corey LaJoie (2013), Mason Mitchell (2014) and Ryan Reed (2015).
Officials from Jive Communications announced today that the international communications company has entered into a multi-faceted motorsports marketing program for the 2016 Racing Season. The announcement took place at Talladega Superspeedway during the ARCA and NASCAR weekend activities at the 2.66 mile speedway.
“We are pleased to announce today a partnership with the Athenian Motorsports team and driver John Wes Townley for primary sponsorship of both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards,” commented John Pope, CEO of Jive Communications. “We’re excited and grateful to begin our association with racing with these prominent brands and franchises.”
Jive will serve as primary sponsors of the Athenian Motorsports #05 Chevrolets for the NASCAR Xfinity Series events in Talladega on Saturday April 30th and on Friday night July 1st in Daytona. The twelve-race ARCA program will debut during today’s General Tire 200 at Talladega. Jive will also serve as an associate sponsor on the No. 05 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“I turned my very first laps in ARCA and NASCAR in 2008, and I can tell you this is the most excited I’ve been about racing,” said the 26-year-old Townley, a two-time Daytona ARCA race winner and the current ARCA points leader heading into today’s General Tire 200 at Talladega. “Jive is a company based in Utah that is entirely new to the motorsports platform. I feel like Athenian Motorsports and I are well-positioned to bring Jive some spectacular results on a regular basis in both ARCA and NASCAR.
“The timing of this deal is perfect. We’re delighted that Jive will be along for the ride. I’m confident this is going to be a great relationship.”
Brian Moore, VP of Sales for Jive Communications, talked about additional involvement for 2016.
“In addition to the team sponsorship, we’re delighted to announce that Jive is joining ARCA as the Official Communications Sponsor for the 2016 season,” said Moore. “We will serve as the presenting sponsor for a pair of ARCA events on this year’s schedule – at Lucas Oil Raceway July 22, and the Illinois State Fair event August 21”, Moore continued. Both the Lucas Oil Raceway and Illinois State Fair events will be promoted by Track Enterprises.
“We at Track Enterprises are proud to have Jive Communications as our 2016 partner,” said Bob Sargent, President of Track Enterprises. “We look forward to Jive being the presenting sponsor for both our Lucas Oil Raceway July 22 event and our Illinois State Fair August 21 event.”
The ARCA Sponsorship will include per-race and year end contingency awards for the race teams, in addition to the Series sponsorship.
“We are pleased to welcome Jive to the ARCA Family of corporate partners,” commented Mark Gundrum, Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Partnerships for ARCA. We look forward to promoting their products throughout the 2016 season, and beyond.”
Athenian Motorsports PR
KY Speedway PR
Bobby Labonte Foundation's "Tour de Reason" to Adorn Go Fas Racing's No. 32 Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway
Registration is now open for the sixth annual cycling event scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27 in Thomasville, N.C., and for the first time, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion has added an evening cocktail reception and silent auction to the weekend's activities on Friday, Aug. 26, at The Gallery in downtown Thomasville.
"The Archdale Drug Tour de Reason provides a way to connect with others who are passionate about cycling while benefitting three causes that are important to me," said Labonte. "I've been riding for 12 years and I cannot express how welcoming and caring the cycling community is. The highlight of the weekend for me is about the camaraderie and bringing the cycling community together to raise money for these charities. Even if you aren't a cyclist, the cocktail reception on Friday gives you the chance to be a big part of the ride."
Last year, more than 225 riders weaved their way through one of the either 63, 35 or 12-mile-fun-ride courses that toured scenic Davidson and Randolph counties. The start and finish lines are bookended by the quaint Thomasville Main Street shops and businesses and participants will experience a sponsor festival featuring music, food and various vendors after crossing the finish line.
Registration for the Tour de Reason is $25 for a single entry or $160 for a team of eight. The 2016 edition of the Bobby Labonte Tour de Reason racing jerseys are also available for an additional $65.
Tickets for Friday evening's cocktail reception will be limited to the first 75 sold. Single tickets are $60 or $100 for two.
"The overall mission of this ride is to make a lasting impact on the local community while raising awareness of cycling safety on the roads in North Carolina, and without the support of sponsors like Archdale Drug, this wouldn't be possible," added Labonte. "A special thank you to Archie St. Hilaire from Go Fas Racing for providing this opportunity for my foundation to be a part of this weekend's scheme, as well as Rimrock Devlin CEO Micah Linton, who has already committed to joining me at the Tour de Reason in August."
"Our entire Rimrock Devlin team is excited about the opportunity to join Bobby Labonte and Go Fas Racing at Talladega this weekend," said Linton. "This is one of my favorite tracks and we want to thank Archie and Go Fas Racing for this opportunity. More importantly, we are looking forward to a continued partnership with the Bobby Labonte Foundation. I spent some time this week discussing this with Bobby and it is exciting to hear that we both have a similar heart and desire to help various charity's focused on children's needs. I'm also committed to join Bobby for his 63-mile charity bike ride this August. We hope to continue our involvement together long past the race this weekend."
To register for the Tour de Reason bicycle ride, visit the Bobby Labonte Foundation website or call 336-434-1800. All proceeds from the event will benefit High Point Young Life, Victory Junction and Bicycling in Greensboro.
Labonte is also wearing a special firesuit this weekend paying tribute to Josh Comstock, CEO of C&J Energy Services who recently passed away, and will auction it off to honor his niece, Miranda Labonte. Miranda Labonte is currently battling breast cancer and all proceeds from the 10-day auction will be donated to the Northwest Triad Affiliate of Susan G. Komen in North Carolina. To bid in the auction, fans are encouraged to visit the Bobby Labonte Facebook page.
Bobby Labonte Foundation PR
“Do you like American music? We like American music. We’ve been focused on the trinity of original beer, original food and original music since we opened in 1995,” says Dogfish Head founder and president Sam Calagione. “We’re stoked to bring this love north for our biggest Dogfish event ever.”
This year’s event finds a new home at Bellevue State Park in Wilmington, Del., with easy access off of I-95. The move to northern Delaware will allow Dogfish to involve more indie artists and vendors while also making it easier for fans across the mid-Atlantic to attend. “Our Milton, Del. campus only allows for so many guests, so we sat down to reimagine it so that we could share the experience with more people,” says VP of Marketing Neal Stewart. “We knew we wanted to keep it in our home state, and we eventually chose Bellevue State Park for its centralized location and awesome amenities.” The 328-acre park features an outdoor amphitheater, known as the Bandshell, along with ample open space for fans to explore the new additions.
The music lineup features an eclectic mix of national and local artists representing rock, pop, jazz, and hip-hop. “When we started thinking about the music, we wanted it to feel like a lineup full of headliners from a variety of different musical genres, backgrounds and regions of the country,” Stewart says. Indie rock legends Built to Spill have been entertaining fans for over 20 years with their heavy guitar hooks and epic live performances. The historic Preservation Hall Jazz Band was founded in 1963 and is sure to get folks on their feet with traditional New Orleans-style jazz. Rounding out the lineup are indie rockers Ra Ra Riot, fresh off a new album release earlier this year; hip-hop great Talib Kweli, who will be performing with a live band; and regional favorites Beach Slang and Fiancé.
The event will also feature the first ever Best Firkin Friends Beer Festival and Distillery Garden, hosted by Bellevue State Park. Guests of the Best Firkin Friends Beer Festival, available for an advance purchase of $15, will indulge in unique samplings from highly sought-after breweries that rarely distribute outside their home territories, including Funky Buddha from Oakland Park, Fla., and Beavertown Brewery from London, England. Other featured breweries include Allagash, Boston Beer, Burley Oak, Iron Hill, Sierra Nevada, Short’s, Stoudt’s, and (of course) Dogfish Head. The Distillery Garden, which will be on the lawn of the historic Bellevue Mansion, will treat guests to scratch-made cocktails from Dogfish Head Distilling Co. along with interactive mixology education from guest bartenders. Passes for this portion will be available for an advanced purchase of $15 as well. Capacity for these add-on experiences is limited and both are expected to sellout.
The Marketplace will feature over 25 independent artists, vendors and vinyl collectors from more than 10 states. Vinyl vendors will showcase new and rare LPs while an off-centered bazaar will offer art, crafts, apparel, jewelry, vintage goods, barware, music accessories, and more.
Rounding out the event will be the Culinary Trailer Park, a congregation of some of the region’s top food trucks. With 13 trucks in the lineup including The Cow and the Curd, Kapow, and Zogg’s Sea Hogg Street Eats, hungry fans will be able to sample a potpourri of delicious cuisine. A wide variety of Dogfish Head draft beer will be also available for purchase throughout the event grounds, including the ever-popular 60 Minute IPA as well as the forthcoming SeaQuenchAle, the thirst-quenching session sour. All proceeds of beer sales will benefit Bellevue State Park.
Dover Motorsports PR
Kingsport Speedway visited Ketron Elementary School in Kingsport today with 2015 track champion Ronnie McCarty.
McCarty spoke to the school’s entire third grade class on the discipline, determination, and hard work that it takes to be a race car driver. McCarty also answered questions from teachers and students on what exactly it takes to race at the local speedway.
To end the visit, McCarty cranked his Late Model Stock Car up to which he received cheers and applause from the entire class.
“It was great to speak to all of those students at Ketron Elementary today,” said McCarty. “They were all interested in the race car and asked a ton of great questions.”
“The kids really enjoyed hearing the race car fire up,” added the 2015 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Tennessee state champion.
Emily Shipley, a teacher at Ketron, organized the event to help motivate the third grade students for upcoming end-of-the-year testing.
“We are so grateful for the talk Ronnie gave on hard work, dedication, and discipline,” said Shipley. “This really motivated our students and prepared them for third grade testing.”
“[Ronnie] did a great job,” exclaimed Shipley.
Each student in the third grade also received two free tickets to any 2016 weekly event.
“We had a great time talking to the students,” said Karen Tunnell, general manager of the speedway. “They were each very excited and I think we’ve gained some new race fans.”
Kingsport Speedway’s next race is scheduled for tonight, April 29. Grandstand gates open at 5:30 PM, and racing begins at 8:00 PM. Adult admission is $10, with children 12-and-under admitted free.
Kingsport Speedway PR