Speedway Digest Staff
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With Leonard Wood’s picture on the hood, and candy apple red paint on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, it comes as no surprise that crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared a brand-new Ford Fusion for this weekend’s 400-miler at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It’s the first new intermediate-track car we’ve built this year,” Wingo said. “Everything looked good when we took it to the wind tunnel so it should be a good car.”
For Wingo, this week’s paint scheme holds special meaning, since it’s a tribute to Wood’s upcoming induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. During his time working for Bud Moore’s race team, he got to know Leonard Wood and the rest of the Wood family. The bond has remained strong through the decades, and for the past two years, Wingo has worked for the Wood Brothers, giving him the distinction of working directly with three members of the Hall of Fame – Bud Moore, and Glen and Leonard Wood.
“It’s truly been an honor to work with Leonard Wood,” Wingo said. “It’s amazing what he’s capable of doing. After working with him, I understand why the Wood Brothers ran so well when he was the crew chief.”
Wingo said that Wood still uses his machinist skills to build parts and pieces for the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion. More often than not, Wingo is most intrigued by the non-racing projects Wood takes on, like his latest creation - a remote-controlled lawn mower.
“Leonard and I talk some about racing, but not as much as we talk about his projects,” Wingo said. “I like to see what he’s got going on.”
One of Wingo’s biggest challenges this weekend is the Indy schedule itself. The only two practice sessions and qualifying will both occur within a few hours of each other on Saturday.
With the team not assured of a starting spot, and a good starting position being such a key factor in the race, the team will have to use much of the practice time preparing a qualifying set-up. That means that laps – and sets of tires – that might have been spent on race practice, instead will be devoted to the qualifying effort.
“If you can qualify well, in the top 10 or 15, and maintain that for the first part of the race, it gives you a good chance of having good track position at the end of the race,” Wingo said. “So we definitely need to qualify well.”
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Roush Fenway Racing will look to get over the hump this weekend and finally break into the win column at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Despite four runner-up finishes in the famed Brickyard 400, Roush Fenway has never won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With the onset of the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis this weekend the team will have a pair of chances to earn the elusive win, and a win on Sunday would give RFR a rare sweep of the season’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400
“Indy has eluded us, but there have been a number of occasions where our cars were good enough to have won,” said team co-owner and founder Jack Roush. “Either because of a fuel mileage situation or the way it worked out by taking tires or not taking tires it didn’t work out. The decision you sometimes make late in the race will decide what the race has been in terms of where the strength was, and we had the speed to win on a number of occasions but just didn’t have things work out for us at the end so that we could close the deal.”
The team has been close. Former driver Mark Martin finished second in the 1998 Brickyard and Matt Kenseth has finished runner up twice in the event; in 2003 and 2006. Carl Edwards came in second in 2008, while Kenseth and Biffle finished third in both 2002 and 2010. Last season David Ragan drove to RFR’s first Indy pole and the team could be on the verge of breaking through at the 2.5-mile track known for its long straightaways and fast racing.
And, Roush admits that closing the deal at the famed speedway would indeed be a special feat for his team, now celebrating its 25th “Winning Year” in NASCAR.
“There’s a certain reverence that I’ve got for the track and for the fan base around the track based on the fact that it was something that I didn’t actually aspire to,” added Roush. “It was something that I respected as a youngster just because it was an indication that people were out there doing something in racing that I actually thought was beyond my reach.”
Overall, Roush Fenway has made a total of 76 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, dating back to the inaugural event at the Brickyard in 1994. During that span the organization has posted 15 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes at IMS, while averaging a 16.9 finish and leading 167 laps.
"It's always cool to come to Indy," said two time Brickyard runner-up and current Sprint Cup point leader Matt Kenseth. "It’s always one you have circled on your calendar and you’re ready to go when you get there. In the past we’ve had some really good runs and some really good cars and haven’t always had the finishes, but it’s probably circumstances more than anything. I think we have equipment as good as anybody, we’ve just got to figure out how to make that all work for there and for the race and strategy that goes into being successful at Indy.”
“This race track is always good to compete on because there’s a lot of history that surrounds the race track,” added Greg Biffle, who enters the weekend third in the Sprint Cup points. “It’s fun to race at Indy. There’s a lot on the line because everybody wants to win the Brickyard.”
Race fans visiting Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the NASCAR and Grand-Am Kroger Super Weekend will have the opportunity to experience the Team Chevy Racing Display, filled with show cars, Chevrolet production vehicles, and Chevrolet Performance Parts crate engines, parts and accessories, and participate in autograph and question-and-answer sessions with some of racing’s biggest stars.
“We’re looking forward to bringing the Team Chevy Racing Display back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Jeff Chew, Marketing Manager, Chevy Racing. “Fans will be able to get autographs from their favorite drivers, participate in driver Q&A’s on the Chevy stage, and experience Chevy’s newest products. Fanscan also spend time with one of our friendly product specialists and learn more about Chevy’s great vehicle lineup, and compete with other fans on our video race simulators. Also on display are Chevrolet Performance Parts crate engines and an assortment of accessories and performance parts for fans to purchase from their local Chevy dealer. We hope to see you there.”
The Team Chevy Racing Display – where fans can see and learn more about vehicles like Sonic, Camaro 45th Anniversary, Silverado, Cruze ECO, Traverse, Equinox, Tahoe, Corvette, Malibu, Suburban and Volt – will be located next to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, and will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Thursday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. -1 p.m. on Sunday.
Fans who sign up with Team Chevy will receive a Chevrolet Corvette DP t-shirt (Friday) or a “Team Chevy 35 Manufacturers’ Championships” commemorative t-shirt (Thursday, Saturday-Sunday).
Drivers will sign autographs at Chalet 4 on Chevy Day Friday. Each driver will sign 100 autographs. To receive an autograph, fans must first obtain a wristband, which will be distributed at the Pagoda Plaza starting at 8 a.m. on Friday. The schedule:
Autograph Sessions at Chalet 4 on Friday, July 27
11 a.m. Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12:50 p.m. Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon
1:10 p.m. Jeff Gordon
3 p.m. Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart
In addition, Team Chevy drivers will participate in question-and-answer sessions at the Team Chevy Racing Display, which will be located adjacent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
Question-and-Answer Sessions on the Chevy Stage, Friday-Saturday, July 27-29
11:45-11:55 a.m. Ryan Newman, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon
12:45-1 p.m. Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4:05-4:20 p.m. Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart
11:45 a.m.-12 p.m. Justin Allgaier
2:30-2:45 p.m. James Buescher
9:15-9:30 a.m. Jamie McMurray
9:30-9:45 a.m. Paul Menard and Regan Smith
9:45-10 a.m. Jeff Burton and Juan Pablo Montoya
10-10:15 a.m. Kevin Harvick
10:15-10:30 a.m. Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10:30-10:45 a.m. Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne
10:45-11 a.m. Pit Crew for the No. 42 Chevrolet (autograph session)
Also, Chevrolet is supporting Cell Phones for Soldiers by providing locations at the display for drop boxes. Cell Phones for Soldiers raises money through the collection of gently used cell phones, and has provided since 2004 more than 1 million pre-paid calling cards and 60 million minutes of calling time to soldiers overseas. For more information, please visitwww.chevrolet.com/phones.
GM Racing PR
Sam Hornish Jr., winner of the 2006 Indianapolis 500 for Penske Racing, returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to pull “double-duty” this weekend in NASCAR competition. Hornish, currently fourth in the Nationwide Series point standings, is entered in both the inaugural Indiana 250 NNS race and the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 Sprint Cup Series race. Hornish will be filling in for the “temporarily suspended” AJ Allmendinger in driving the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in Sunday’s race.
“I’m really looking forward to competing in both races this weekend at Indy,” offered Hornish, who will be racing in his 52nd career NNS race on Saturday and his 113th career NSCS on Sunday at IMS this weekend. “It’ll be neat to be part of racing history when the Nationwide Series teams race there for the first time on Saturday. I’m thrilled to be able to be back behind the wheel of the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge again for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race.”
“It’s obviously a difficult situation with AJ and the No. 22 team,” added Hornish, who will also race in the Cup Series event at Pocono next weekend in the No. 22 car following AJ Allmendinger’s suspension. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to compete in the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge over these next two races and we’ll see where things go from there. I want to do whatever I can to support Penske Racing and our partners and deliver a good result for the team.”
Hornish competed in eight editions of the Indianapolis 500 from 2000 through 2007, with the final four as a driver for Penske Racing. In addition to winning from the pole in the 2006 race, Hornish came back to start fifth and finish fourth in his final open-wheel race there in 2007. He posted an 8.9 average start and 16.5 average finish in his Indy car career on the historical 2.5-mile rectangular-shaped track.
This weekend’s NASCAR races won’t be the first for Hornish at the Brickyard, however. After leaving the open-wheel ranks after the 2007 season, Hornish competed in three of the annual Sprint Cup races there from 2008-2010 for Penske Racing. In the 2008 Brickyard 400, he started 38th and finished 21st. Hornish started 15th and finished 37th there in 2009 and finished 30th after starting 25th in the 2010 event.
In his three Indianapolis Sprint Cup starts to date, Hornish has a 26.0 average start and a 29.3 average finish. He has completed 90.6 percent (435/480) of possible laps and is looking to lead his first lap in NASCAR competition there this weekend.
“It's a lot different driving a stock car at Indianapolis,” Hornish said from his personal experience of competing there. “The line is basically the same – you want the car to hit the same points. In Indy cars, you trim the car until you are able to run flat out. In NASCAR, you know that every lap you are going to brake in Turns 1 and 3 as well going into Turns 2 and 4. You can easily upset a stock car by doing the wrong thing.
“I think I learned a lot from the three NASCAR races I ran before at Indy,” offered Hornish, a three-time IndyCar Series champion. “You have to be sure to position yourself to get to the finish of the race. We had good cars there before and tried to get to the front too quickly. Patience will definitely be at the top of my mind there this weekend for sure.
“It’s a lot about momentum, too, and judging things the right way,” Hornish added. “The Indy cars were somewhat like that, as well. If you make an ill-timed attempt to pass, you are going to get passed by somebody. It’s a place where you have to be sure you are going to get it done or you won’t get back in line in time and loose spots.
“Of course our main focus is running the entire Nationwide schedule and going for the championship, but we plan on making the best out of the opportunity to be back in the Cup car again this weekend,” said Hornish. “We were able to run both races at New Hampshire and look forward to having the chance to do it again this weekend at Indy. We’ll be doing everything to the best of our abilities to be successful in both cars there on Saturday and Sunday.”
Crew chief Todd Gordon thinks the fact that Hornish is competing in both NASCAR races at IMS is definitely a bonus.
“Just getting the additional track time there this weekend will offer tremendous benefits, I think,” said Gordon, who will be making his first trip back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway since taking a tour of the facility as a seven-year-old fan visiting the track. “Sam certainly has turned a ton of laps during his career at Indy, but the big majority of his experience there has been in the open-wheel cars. The more laps he can get there this weekend, the better off we will be.
“The fact that he was able to drink the milk there is proof that Sam obviously knows his way around the place,” Gordon added. “With both series utilizing the same Goodyear Tires, I am confident that we’ll be able to be better prepared for Sunday’s race.
“With all the success Penske Racing has had over on the open-wheel side at Indy, bringing home a win there on Sunday for Roger and the organization would be an incredible achievement,” said Gordon. “When you look at the overall record, a Cup championship and NASCAR wins at Indy are the major things that are missing. It would be a dream come true to be able to be part of such an accomplishment.”
Chevrolet will have a new entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013: Camaro, the top-selling sports car in America, will make its series debut next February at Daytona International Speedway.
“Chevrolet is proud to bring the Camaro to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013,” said Jim Campbell, vice president, Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The Camaro Nationwide race car incorporates many of the distinctive styling elements of the production Camaro, including the unique power-bulge hood and deep recessed grille. In addition, the design incorporates the distinctive halo light rings and dual-port grille appearances, and the gold bowtie.”
Camaro, which led its segment in sales in 2010 and 2011 and currently leads in 2012, will continue the proud heritage of Chevrolet performance vehicles in one of America’s most prestigious racing series. Chevrolet has more wins, more manufacturers’ championships and more driver’s championships than any other manufacturer competing in the Nationwide Series.
“Our team of Chevrolet designers and aerodynamic engineers did a fantastic job capturing the great looks and styling cues of the production Camaro, while providing our NASCAR Nationwide teams with a highly competitive aero platform,” said Pat Suhy, manager, Chevrolet Racing Oval Track Group. “For the remainder of 2012, our engineers will be busy working with our Chevy teams on wind tunnel and on-track testing to fine-tune the car in preparation for next year. It will be great to see Camaro compete on the track against its showroom competition starting with the 2013 season opener at Daytona.”
Chevrolet currently leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series in wins, manufacturer standings, and in the driver point standings.
“We have been working on this new Camaro for over a year and I am excited to have it approved by NASCAR for 2013 competition in the Nationwide Series,” said Shane Martin, program manager, Chevrolet NASCAR Nationwide Series. “This car has a bold look that will be reinforced by its performance on the race track.”
GM Racing PR
The 2012 Presidential race is heating up and our very own Pocono Raceway President and CEO, Brandon Igdalsky, is initiating his own campaign with a bold prediction on his pick to win the Pennsylvania 400. Igdalsky is so confident with his pick, he will give $100,000 away to one lucky race fan if Dale Earnhardt, Jr., wins “The Tricky Triangle” 400-miler on Sunday, August 5th. Yes, you heard it right the first time! One lucky fan can walk away $100,000 richer if Dale Jr. wins the Pennsylvania 400!
“While watching the 2012 Presidential races, I decided it was time to make a campaign pledge of my own,” said Igdalsky. “My campaign strategy is simple. Pick a driver with a legitimate shot of winning the Pennsylvania 400 and give $100,000 to a race fan if he wins! The fans visiting Pocono Raceway each year are the greatest fans in all of motorsports. Without them, nothing we do would be possible. It is time to give back to the people! We will all be watching anxiously on August 5th to see if Dale Jr. can win. If he does, I will gladly cut one of them a check!”
Fans can enter the “Pocono Presidential Pick for $100,000” by visiting any of our Official Pocono Raceway souvenir trailers, stands or tents, located throughout our facility, during the Pennsylvania 400 race weekend. Once there, they will be required to fill out a simple entry blank to become automatically entered.
The Pocono Raceway staff will randomly select an individual at the half-way point of the Pennsylvania 400. If the No. 88 Chevrolet, piloted by Dale Jr. takes the checkered flag, they will win $100,000! Additionally, four other winners will be chosen at random, along with the potential $100,000 winner, with each receiving two Terrace Club tickets to a 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of their choice at Pocono Raceway, regardless of the outcome of the 2012 Pennsylvania 400.
Entrants must be 16 years of age or older and do not need to be present at time of random drawing to win. No purchase necessary. For more information, including additional rules and regulations, please visit www.poconoraceway.com/100k.
Pocono Raceway PR
Every time Scott Speed drives through the tunnel between Turns 3 and 4, the massive Indianapolis Motor Speedway still takes his breath away.
The site of the most famous race track does that to everyone, whether they drive race cars, work in the garage area, or sit in the grandstands.
This Sunday's Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard will be no different.
"There's something magical about Indy," Speed said. "It doesn't matter if your background is NASCAR, IndyCars, sports cars or Formula One. Every person who's ever buckled inside a race car has dreamed about driving over that yard of bricks and winning at Indy."
Speed will return to the fabled raceway in the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Ford. It will be his sixth career start at Indianapolis - his fourth in the Sprint Cup Series, along with two starts in Formula One.
And yet, they excitement never gets old.
"When you say 'Daytona' everyone knows what you mean; when you say 'Indy' everyone knows what you mean," said crew chief Wally Rogers said. "It is a special place. It's where you don't just win races, you become legendary. Believe me, when our race team arrives at Indianapolis, we have great reverence for the people before us who made it what it is.
"We hope to do our part to add to the tradition."
Speed and Leavine Family Racing run a selected schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Indianapolis was one of the first races on the schedule.
"When we sat down to put the schedule together, Indianapolis was on the top of the list," Speed said. "If you're a racer, if you're a race team, you go to Indianapolis.
"I've been there in stock cars; I've been there in open wheel. The feeling never changes. The excitement never changes. Every time I'm on the property, it takes my breath away."
There are two practice sessions on Saturday, followed by pole qualifying at 2:10 p.m.
Crown Royal assigned the naming rights to the race for a fireman from Troy, Ala., Curtiss Shaver. The 400-mile main event is scheduled for a 1 p.m. green flag on ESPN.
WESCO Distribution, Inc., a leading full-line wholesale distributor of electrical, industrial, utility and data communications products and advanced supply chain procurement services, has entered a sponsorship with Richard Childress Racing for the 2012 season.
The Pittsburgh -based company will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 51 Chevrolet driven by Ty Dillon in two NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season. The 20-year-old driver's first scheduled race in the WESCO Chevrolet is set to take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, marking a historical weekend for the Nationwide Series as they make their inaugural visit to the famed 2.5-mile track. Dillon is slated to return to the WESCO Chevrolet this fall under the lights in the Nationwide Series event at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 7.
"I'm really looking forward to running some additional Nationwide Series races and having WESCO and their vendor-partners on board with us," said Ty Dillon. "I've had the opportunity to spend some time with them already and can't wait to share in their excitement when they see the No. 51 WESCO Chevrolet on track at Indianapolis."
In addition, the WESCO logo will adorn the No. 31 Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as an associate sponsor beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and continuing throughout the remainder of the 2012 season.
"We are extremely excited about working with WESCO," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "Their first event with Ty and the No. 51 team will be historic since it will also be the first-ever Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We look forward to hosting WESCO's vendor-partners and customers at the track and creating a unique experience for them to remember."
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today that Drew Herring will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut driving the team's flagship No. 18 Tundra in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton on Sept. 15.
Herring has eight career starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), including an 11th-place finish after qualifying fifth in his most recent start at Iowa Speedway last August. Last season, the Benson, N.C. native finished 12th or better in all four of his NNS starts for Joe Gibbs Racing, collecting two top-10 finishes while leading 39 laps and completing all 929 laps available.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be making my Camping World Truck Series debut in the No. 18 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports," said Herring, who also serves as a test driver for KBM's NNS team. "KBM is the premiere team in the series -- I know that Eric Phillips and the guys will be providing me with top-notch equipment and all the information I need to make my transition to the trucks an easy one. Iowa Speedway is a track that I've had success at in both the Nationwide Series and the ProCup Series, so I feel like it's the perfect place for me to be getting behind the wheel of a truck for the first time."
"Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing speaks very highly of Drew, and from having him around our Nationwide Series team for some races this year, I've learned that he's a very knowledgeable young man," KBM general manager Rick Ren said. "Iowa is a track that he is already comfortable getting around and he'll get some more laps around there when he practices our Monster Energy Camry for Kurt (Busch) next week. Our job will be to educate him on the differences in the feel of a Nationwide car versus the truck, but I think that he'll adapt very quickly and have a strong run for us."
The addition of Herring completes the driver lineup on the No. 18 Tundra for the 2012 season. Jason Leffler will drive the truck in six of the remaining 12 races, Brian Scott will be behind the wheel four more times while Herring and Denny Hamlin will each compete in one race. For a complete schedule of which races each will drive, go to www.kylebuschmotorsports.com/schedule.
The Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office will extend its hours, including opening on weekends, beginning on July 28 in advance of the track’s three nights of NASCAR racing during Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
With ticket demand growing as the Atlanta race date nears on the NASCAR schedule, the AMS ticket office will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. These extended days of weekend availability will last through race weekend and will begin this Saturday, July 28.
In addition to weekend hours of operation, the ticket office will also increase its weekday business hours beginning on Monday, Aug. 13. The ticket office will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. beginning on that date.