Sunday, May 28
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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It’s a common phrase used when describing NASCAR restrictor-plate races – “checkers or wreckers.” The driver and his racecar either take the checkered flag and head to victory lane, or the racecar ends up on a wrecker, having been collected in whatever late-race chaos that typically occurs at these tracks.

Johnson is most familiar with the “wreckers” scenario of late, having failed to finish a points-paying plate race last year. In addition, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads next for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 restrictor-plate race, ranks as Johnson’s worst track in the NASCAR driver rating system.

There is a bright side for the five-time champion, who also has two wins (April 2006 and 2011) at the 2.66 mile superspeedway. He also scored a victory in this year’s season opening Daytona 500, the sport’s biggest race of the year. Another good sign is Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus enjoys the Alabama track. The Illinois native worked for Stanley Smith just down the road in Chelsea early in his career.

But a little luck never hurts at Talladega, where attrition is high. In last year’s October race there, Johnson had a shot to finish his first restrictor-plate race of the year in his fourth attempt when a last-lap accident derailed his efforts.

With good fortune already having struck for him at a restrictor-plate track, could Johnson reverse his 2012 results and go from wreckers to checkers this weekend? Stranger things have happened at Talladega, for sure.



More than 100,000 students from San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties read nearly 700,000 books from 180 elementary schools  during Lefty’s Reading Challenge,  Jan. 14 – Feb. 8, for a chance to win thousands of dollars for their school libraries. 

In the coming weeks, $27,000 will be distributed to the libraries of the winning schools and students will celebrate with a school-wide pizza party. 

Pizza parties for the winning schools are scheduled for:

·         Etiwanda Colony Elementary School in Rancho Cucamonga on May 3

·         Ramona Elementary School in Moreno Valley on May 8

·         St. Catherine of Alexandria Elementary School in Riverside on May 9

·         Terra Vista Elementary School in Rancho Cucamonga on May 10

·         Avalon Elementary School in Perris on May 14

·         Ted Porter Elementary School in Fontana on May 17

·         Arroyo Verde Elementary School in Highland on May 31

·         Roynon Elementary School in La Verne on June 3

·         Oakmont Elementary School in Claremont on June 10

All students completing their reading challenge also received: a certificate of completion; one complimentary ticket for a parent or guardian to the Royal Purple 300 NNS race; one complimentary membership to Lefty’s Kids Club that got kids 12 and under free to NASCAR Qualifying Day and the Royal Purple 300 and all teachers that had 100% participation in their classroom received two complimentary tickets to the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in March.

With the support of Bento Box Interactive, all students that completed their reading challenge also received the recently released, digitally enhanced Sweet Pickles E-book, the “Very Worried Walrus”. Celebrating its 35th Anniversary, the Sweet Pickles E-books creates an interactive read-along experience with professional sound effects, narration and character voices performed by award-winning voice actors (  

Lefty’s Reading Challenge is also made possible through generous contributions from The NASCAR Foundation and local race fans.  As part of the NASCAR Day celebrations, on Thursday, May 16 between 3 – 7 p.m. Southern Californians can participate in Lefty’s Track Days at Auto Club Speedway.  For just a $10 donation, participants will get to drive their cararound Southern California’s premier motorsports 2-mile track.  Additionally, for $20 per person, race fans can also experience speeds over 100 mph with a ride in the official Speedway Pace Car.  NASCAR Day wristbands will also be available for $5, as will the NASCAR Day collectible lapel pin for $10.  Proceeds from Lefty’s Track Days will benefit Lefty’s Reading Challenge.

The challenge, named after Auto Club Speedway mascot Lefty, is part of Auto Club Speedway’s heralded youth initiative.  For more information on Lefty’s Reading Challenge, please contact Auto Club Speedway Community Services at (909) 429-5611.



Sonoma Raceway welcomes a new official sponsor as NASCAR debuts its redesigned road-course qualifying format at “Lean1 Pole Day” at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series event in June, the raceway announced today.

Lean1, a product of Nutrition53, will become title sponsor of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole day qualifying activities, which have been moved to Saturday, June 22. Under the new procedure, cars will qualify in groups based on Friday practice times, instead of traditional single-car qualifying runs.

Nutrition53 is owned by former NFL great linebacker Bill Romanowski, who played for both the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, among other teams.

"Nutrition53 is incredibly proud to support an event with such a great history. Having played for the 49ers and Raiders in the Bay Area, I know the power and passionate audience that drives this event,” said Bill Romanowski, founder/CEO of Nutrition53. “This gives us an excellent opportunity to interact with thousands of consumers with our breakthrough nutritional products. The race also provides us a great forum to support our Lean1/Swan Racing race team and driver David Stremme." 

In addition to becoming title sponsor of pole day, Lean1 becomes the Official Health Supplement Sponsor of Sonoma Raceway.  The three-year deal also includes Lean1 Pole Day tickets for a retail-oriented promotion, as well as sampling rights, hospitality, signage and other assets during race weekend. Lean1 will also receive the right to use the Sonoma Raceway name and logo for promotional purposes.

“Our new qualifying format is going to be an exciting change to the race weekend and we’re delighted to bring Lean1 and a Bay Area icon like Bill Romanowski on board to help promote it,” said Steve Page, president & general manager of Sonoma Raceway.

Sonoma Raceway PR

Pocono Raceway announced today the completion of their extensive road course renovation project. This includes the resurfacing of all infield road courses, the addition of multi-directional curbing and upgraded participant amenities.

Each of the 17 track layouts can be run in either clockwise or counter clockwise directions, allowing for a total of 34 configurations. The courses range in distances from a technical half-mile layout to a 2.53-mile national circuit. FIM multi-directional curbing was added to all the corners and the run-offs were smoothed and leveled.

All available configurations can be found by visiting

Two new structures were added that include meeting rooms, classrooms, the Garage Grill Cafe and modern restrooms and showers for both competitors and guests conveniences.

Additionally, 100 Infield RV spots have been opened for use. Complete with power, water and sewer hookups, these spots are available for both competitors and guests to enjoy while utilizing the road courses.

For track rental availability, rates and RV Reservations, please contact Pocono Raceway’s Operations Department at 570-646-2300.

Pocono Raceway PR

For one week only, Atlanta Motor Speedway is making an unbelievable discount offer available to fans for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept. 1.

Starting Sunday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m., race fans can purchase buy one, get one Lower Champions Grandstand seats located at the start/finish line. This offer represents at 50 percent discount off the normal value, allowing purchasers to get two fronstretch tickets for only $99. This promotion is only available while supplies last for up to one week, and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 12.

Tickets available for the special promotion are in limited supply, and fans are strongly encouraged to act quickly before supplies run out.

One of the best areas to watch the race from at AMS, start/finish line seats in the Lower Champions Grandstand allow fans to have an amazing view of the 1.54-mile facility. A clear look at the pits will give fans the chance to watch pit strategy unfold before their eyes, with many races often won or lost in the pits.


Milka Duno, in the No. 35 CanTV-Milkaway Toyota, became the first female ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver since 1988 to win the pole at Talladega Superspeedway Thursday afternoon.


Duno had the second-fastest time in the Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell but when the time of Venturini Motorsports teammate John Wes Townley was disallowed following post-qualifying inspection, Duno was announced as the pole winner.


"This is fantastic," Duno said following her award. "We have been trying, trying, trying for the pole ever since Daytona. All day, I made my crew chief (Kevin Caldwell) crazy, saying 'what do we need to do?'"


The times of four cars were disallowed. Each of those drivers will start at the rear of the field in Friday's International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250. The race will begin at 4 p.m. (Central Standard Time) and will be broadcast live on SPEED.


Duno is the fourth female to win an ARCA pole award, including Moise, Shawna Robinson and Erin Crocker. Moise is the only other female pole winner at Talladega, claiming two poles at the 2.66-mile superspeedway in 1988.


The rest of the top five include Mason Mingus, Grant Enfinger, Justin Boston and Caleb Armstrong.


Mingus will enter the race second in the championship point race, Enfinger won the pole and race at Mobile earlier this year while Boston and Armstrong are the other Venturini Motorsports cars.


After inspection, ARCA racing officials said the qualifying efforts of Bobby Gerhart, Korbin Forrestor, Mark Thompson and Townley were being disallowed following the post-race technical inspection.


Duno, 41, qualified second behind Townley at the season-opening Daytona International Speedway race and led the first 11 laps before transmission troubles. Townley won the race. Duno had her career-best ARCA finish at Salem Speedway last weekend.


"We are very competitive," Duno said. "This is great. Now, I must go to my crew chief and talk about being better. I have to run the perfect race."


The Caracas, Venezuela driver is one of the most successful female sports car racers in history. She is a qualified naval engineer and has four master's degrees. She has participated in the 24 Hours of LeMans, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Indianapolis 500. She competed in the American LeMans Series championship in the early 2000s before moving to the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004.


The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is making its 51ststart at Talladega. The first ARCA race at Talladega came in 1969.


No female driver has won in the ARCA Racing Series in its 61 year history.


Friday's Int'l Motorsports Hall of Fame 250 is live on SPEED at 5:00 p.m. ET.

2013 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Event #4  
Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega Alabama, 5-3-13  
International Motorsports Hall of Fame 250
Official Starting Grid    
1 35 Milka Duno/Caracas Venezuela 53.652 178.484
2 32 Mason Mingus/Brentwood TN 53.787 178.036
3 90 Grant Enfinger/Fairhope AL 53.805 177.976
4 25 Justin Boston/Baltimore, MD 53.946 177.511
5 55 Caleb Armstrong/New Castle IN 53.987 177.376
6 99 Mason Mitchell/W. Des Moines IA 54.212 176.640
7 23 Spencer Gallagher/Las Vegas NV 54.268 176.458
8 3 Drew Charlson/New Bremen OH 54.536 175.590
9 92 Brennan Newberry/Bakersfield CA 54.549 175.549
10 42 Bo LeMastus/Louisville KY 54.558 175.520
11 44 Frank Kimmel/Clarksville IN 54.645 175.240
12 77 Tom Hessert/Cherry Hill NJ 54.657 175.202
13 82 Sean Corr/Goshen NY 54.659 175.195
14 88 Buster Graham/Lafayette LA 54.783 174.799
15 6 Ricky Ehrgott/Valrico FL 54.836 174.630
16 68 Will Kimmel/Sellersburg IN 54.856 174.566
17 02 Josh Williams/Port Charlotte FL 54.933 174.321
18 13 George Cushman/Waterville NY 55.030 174.014
19 08 Clay Campbell/Martinsville VA 55.105 173.777
20 19 Donnie Neuenberger/Edgewater MD 55.134 173.686
21 10 Cody McMahan/Chilhowie VA 55.148 173.642
22 54 Matt Kurzejewski/Mansfield PA 55.160 173.604
23 69 John Ferrier/Middletown NY 55.425 172.774
24 30 Terry Jones/Amherstburg Ontario 55.596 172.243
25 2 Thomas Praytor/Mobile AL 55.688 171.958
26 34 Darrell Basham/Henryville IN 55.930 171.214
27 40 Galen Hassler/Columbia MO 56.452 169.631
28 97 Roger Carter/Sunfield MI 56.541 169.364
29 94 Barry Fitzgerald/Sykesville MD 56.745 168.755
30 15 John Wes Townley/Watkinsville GA Provisional  
31 48 James Hylton/Inman SC Provisional  
32 22 Korbin Forrister/Cedartown GA Provisional  
33 66 Mark Thompson/Cartersville GA Provisional  
34 06 James Swanson/Clarksboro NJ Provisional  
35 5 Bobby Gerhart/Lebanon PA Provisional  
36 75 Benny Chastain/Tallahassee FL Provisional


ARCA Racing PR

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin has received medical clearance to return to on-track activity beginning with this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota. 

Hamlin was injured during an accident at Auto Club Speedway and has missed the past four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races while recovering. 

Exact plans for this weekend will be determined by the team at Talladega. 


After a challenging start to his rookie campaign in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Ohio’s Matt Tifft and his Win-Tron Racing team left last weekend’s Blue Ox 100 with some much needed confidence after delivering a 10th place run in the fourth race of the season.

Tifft, driver of the No. 89 DOC 360 Chevrolet Impala, hopes that their Richmond effort is a sign of things to come for the Mooresville, North Carolina-based team.

“Richmond was one of the craziest races I've been in,” said the 16-year old who started the 100-lap event from the 19th position. “We struggled with the setup until the sun went away and then the car came alive. We then dodged four wrecks, swept into the big one and managed to come away with a top-10. I even had a car drive up my window net. I'm very proud of this team, to finish there after the way things were going is a good sign for things to come. I completed one of my goals for the season, to finish in the top-10. We’ll build on this run and look to duplicate or better it at Bowman-Gray.”

The running of the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150, from the Winston Salem, North Carolina stadium isn’t, for another four weeks. The brief pause in NKPSE action doesn’t exactly mean the teenager will be sitting idle though.

“Staying in the seat will only keep me focused and hopefully keep a rhythm going,” Tifft sounded. “As far as I’m concerned, the more track time, the better.”

Currently, Tifft is preparing to test with his Win-Tron Racing at Toledo Speedway on Thursday, May 9 to prepare for his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut at the 0.5-mile oval on Sunday, May 19.

From Toledo, Tifft will head north to the Great Lakes state to compete in the ARCA / CRA event at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway on Saturday, May 11.

“I’m very excited about the month of May,” said Tifft, the 2012 ARCA Midwest Tour Series rookie of the year. “It’s a real treat to race close to my home with friends and family watching, plus the opportunity to make my ARCA debut, it’s surreal.”

He added, “I’m also eager to get back to Berlin Raceway next weekend for the CRA race. That place is one of my all-time favorite places to race, so I’m expecting to go up there and run competitive for DOC 360 and my team. Life is pretty good right now.”

Win-Tron Racing PR

In just a couple of weeks, NASCAR’s best will take to the high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway for the most intense back-to-back race weekends of the season. Adding to the excitement in 2013, fans will be treated to a bevy of additional entertainment, from death-defying pre-race stunts to grassroots racing on the frontstretch quarter-mile and a firefighting skills competition.

“While NASCAR is at the heart of the 10 greatest days in racing, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to family-friendly activities and entertainment that takes place here at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We have always prided ourselves in providing affordable entertainment for fans, and this year we’ve really stepped it up with more fun than ever before.”

A few highlights of the added entertainment fans will enjoy this year include:

High-Flying Stuntmen Take to the Skies to Delight Crowds

The off-track excitement kicks off before the start of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 18, when fan-favorite stuntman Spanky Spangler and his son, Brian, will simultaneously perform a two-car jump, crossing paths in mid-air before crashing into a pile of cars.

For thrill-seeking fans, the Spangler stunt is just the beginning. On Friday, May 24, during the Circle K NOS Energy Outlaw Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, fans will witness two more high-flying stunts. Dr. Danger (aka Gregory Carpenter) will kick off the show by jumping cars into a 10-car pyramid before Mr. Dizzy (aka Mike Buse) attempts an aerial corkscrew in a limousine.

All three stunts will be documented by crews from the HISTORY Channel for an upcoming episode of “American Daredevils.”

First-Ever Legends All-Star Event Boasts Season’s Largest $10,000 Total Purse

Grassroots racers with take to the frontstretch quarter-mile oval in a new event following Coca-Cola 600 qualifying on LiftMaster Pole Night. Charlotte Motor Speedway is partnering with U.S. Legend Cars International for the first ever Legends All-Star event.

The field is open to competitors of all Legend Car divisions. The top 20 speeds in qualifying on Tuesday, May 21 will automatically be locked into the field for Thursday’s race. Prior to the main race Thursday, May 23, the next 30 fastest cars in qualifying will compete in a hooligan race, with the top 10 finishers advancing to the Legends All-Star main event.

Following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600, the 30-car Legends All-Star field will bump and bang in a 40-lap finale with the largest purse of the Legends Car season on the line. In addition to taking home the $2,500 top prize, the winner and highest finishers from each Legends Car division will be introduced during Coca-Cola 600 pre-race on May 26.

Firefighter Combat Challenge Sets Sites on Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway will also host the LiftMaster Firefighter Combat Challenge during the Coca-Cola 600 weekend with two days of competition scheduled for Saturday and Sunday May 24-25.

Fans can watch as firefighters, wearing full gear and competing in a race as they simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting, perform a five-story tower climb, drag hoses and perform a simulated rescue of a life-sized, 175-pound “victim” in a series of timed exercises.

Kids can get in on the fun as well, taking part in a scaled-down verison of the challenge.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge attracts hundreds of U.S. and Canadian municipal fire departments at more than 25 locations annually and is now expanding to countries around the world.


Thirty days, six figures and one goal – achieved with intense commitment to an unprecedented call-to-action across all NASCAR stakeholders.


NASCAR Race to Green™, a month-long initiative that galvanized teams, tracks, drivers, Official NASCAR Partners, and most importantly fans, resulted in more than 150,000 trees being planted across the country, including in areas affected by natural disasters.


As part of its centennial anniversary, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) has partnered with NASCAR to help offset the carbon footprint of fans attending all NASCAR-sanctioned races across the Commonwealth of Virginia at Martinsville Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia International Raceway in Alton, and South Boston Speedway in 2013. The VDOF and NASCAR partnered to sign a voluntary, three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines VDOF’s commitment to pledge trees throughout a number of state forests.  


NASCAR teams and drivers did their part throughout the month with more than 90 percent of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams featuring the NASCAR Green logo on the b-post of their race cars, supported by exposure from FOX Sports and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Michael Waltrip Racing drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer for Toyota and Front Row Motorsports driver David Ragan for UPS, attended events that encouraged fans to pledge trees. On Earth Day the NASCAR Foundation, Sprint, UPS and New Holland joined to support a park restoration project in the Kansas City area with the Student Conservation Association and the Arbor Day Foundation.


The month of April also marked the launch of the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS. In a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, UPS committed to plant more than 8,000 trees in 2013 – including 90 in each market where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for the remainder of the season. As part of the program, a number of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks planted trees in their local community, including: Daytona International Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Pocono Raceway and UPS also made a donation of 13,000 trees that were planted at the Flight 93 Memorial National Parks Service facility in Shanksville, Pa.


“The extent to which our fans and the industry collectively rallied to positively impact the environment was overwhelming,” said Dr. Michael Lynch, NASCAR managing director of Green Innovation. Citing an April 2013 study of the Official NASCAR Fan Council, Lynch expanded, “three out of four avid NASCAR fans are now aware of NASCAR Green and believe NASCAR cares about the environment.”

NASCAR Official Partners were among the main contributors to NASCAR Race to Green, rallying around the initiative through a series of unique activations, a commitment to pledge trees, and participation in a number of events that took place throughout the month of April. Partners taking an active role included:

·      3M – donated a tree for every lap run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series™ and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™

·      American Ethanol – donated a tree for every mile raced in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

·      Axalta Coating Systems – donated trees for every lap Jeff Gordon led while driving the CromaxPro car

·      Coors Light – Miss Coors Light encouraged fans to plant trees and recycle at track

·      Creative Recycling Systems – donated trees for every green flag waived in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

·      DRIVE4COPD – donated trees for every lap that Austin and Ty Dillon led in their respective series

·      Exide Batteries – donated trees for every 10 tons of recyclable material it collected companywide

·      Featherlite Trailers – donated trees for every Featherlite-transported driver who won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race

·      Ford Motor Company – donated a tree for every lap a Ford Racing driver led in the Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

·      Freightliner Trucks – donated trees for every Freightliner driver that won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race

·      Green Earth Technologies – donated trees for every green flag lap of competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

·      Liberty Tire Recycling – committed to plant trees in multiple locations in 2013

·      M&M’s – committed to plant trees at the new Mars Chocolate North America production facility in Topeka

·      Sprint – Sprint employees planted trees on Earth Day at Weston State Park in Kansas

·      Sunoco – donated trees to represent the number of pit stops across all three NASCAR national series

·      Toyota – throughout all three NASCAR national series, donated trees for every Toyota in Victory Lane, every Toyota driver who captured the Coors Light Pole Award, every lap led by a Toyota driver
and for every caution lap in which the Toyota Camry paced

·      UPS – donated thousands of trees to areas impacted by natural disasters and to the Flight 93 Memorial site



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