Speedway Digest Staff
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NASCAR Tree Planting Initiative Hits Six Figures
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
2014 Corvette Stingray to Pace 97th Indianapolis 500
The all-new, seventh-generation 2014 Corvette Stingray will serve as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, leading the field to green at the start of the 97th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” on Sunday, May 26, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
It marks a record 12th time the Corvette has served as the Pace Car, starting in 1978.
“It is an honor to help inaugurate the all-new Corvette Stingray at the hallowed Brickyard and further the legacy between Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500,” said Jim Campbell, GM vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The 2014 Corvette Stingray’s performance was influenced by racing, making this prestigious assignment even more fitting.”
Along with Chevrolet’s return in 2012 as an engine supplier, the Corvette Stingray Pace Car extends a legacy at the Brickyard that dates to the racetrack’s early days.
“Chevrolet is a great partner of the Speedway,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and chief executive officer. “That connection is heightened this year with the next-generation Corvette in front of a very talented field of racers.”
Decked out in Laguna Blue Tintcoat with official Indianapolis 500 graphics on the doors, the Corvette Stingray Pace Car differs from production models with only track-mandated safety features and strobe lights. No powertrain upgrades are required to run in front of the IndyCar pack, thanks to its all-new 6.2L LT1 engine, which features advanced technologies including direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). They help produce an estimated 450 horsepower more efficiently.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe goes on sale this fall, with a convertible model – featuring a fully electronic top that can be operated remotely with the key fob – coming a few months later. Vehicle highlights include:
· An interior that offers genuine carbon fiber and aluminum trim, hand-wrapped leather materials, dual eight-inch configurable driver/infotainment screens, and two new seat choices – each featuring a lightweight magnesium frame for exceptional support
· Advanced driver technologies, including a five-position Drive Mode Selector that tailors 12 vehicle attributes to fit the driver’s environment and a new seven-speed manual transmission with Active Rev Matching that anticipates gear selections and matches engine speed for perfect shifts every time
· Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable carbon fiber roof panel on coupes; composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels; carbon-nano composite underbody panels and a new aluminum frame help shift weight rearward for an optimal 50/50 weight balance that supports a world-class power-to-weight ratio
· A sculpted exterior featuring advanced high-intensity discharge and light-emitting diode lighting and racing-proven aerodynamics that balance low drag for efficiency and performance elements for improved stability and track capability
· Track-oriented Z51 Performance Package, including an electronic limited-slip differential; dry-sump oiling system; integral brake, differential and transmission cooling; as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability.
The Corvette Pace Car features the track-capable Z51 package.
Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500
Chevrolet has a long shared history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD IndyCar Series. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and the Chevrolet brothers – company co-founder Louis, Arthur and Gaston – all competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur Chevrolet competed in the 1911 race and Gaston Chevrolet won it in 1920.
Chevrolet competed in Indy-style competition as an engine manufacturer in 1986-93 and 2002-05 with V-8 engines, and returned in 2012 with the Chevrolet IndyCar twin-turbo V-6 engine with direct injection. In that time, Chevrolet won 118 IndyCar races, powered seven driver series champions and scored seven Indianapolis 500 victories.
2013 marks the 24th time a Chevrolet has served as the official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500, more than any other brand, dating to 1948 with a Chevrolet Fleetmaster. Camaro has served in the role seven times and, with this year’s running, Corvette has led the way a record 12 times.
Team Chevy Racing PR
Barnes and Madrid to make second start for Rev Racing at Hickory
Annabeth Barnes and Jack Madrid return to Hickory Motor Speedway this Saturday, May 4, for their second race with Rev Racing in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS). After a cancelled race due to rain last weekend, both drivers are eager to hit the pavement.
Annabeth Barnes (No. 21 Toyota Camry) – Barnes is no stranger to Hickory Motor Speedway, where she ran her first full stock car season, competing in the Limited Late Model Division. This will be her second start with Rev Racing in the NWAAS at the “World’s Most Famous Short Track”.
Jack Madrid (No. 4 Toyota Camry) - This will be Madrid’s second time to race at Hickory Motor Speedway. The San Clemente, Calif. native spent last season racing in the Super Late Model Division, where he finished in the top-10 in all four races in which he competed.
Both drivers were selected for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program at the 2012 combine, and will be competing for Rev Racing in the NWAAS this season.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. and racing will begin at 7 p.m. There will be a pre-race autograph session open to all the fans prior to the green flag. Follow us on Twitter @RevRacin for race updates.
Rev Racing PR
Farm Rich Goes Racing with Ragan
Georgia-based Farm Rich is teaming up with Unadilla, Ga., native David Ragan for this weekend's high-speed action at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway - a track where he has a history of finishing up front.
The Aaron's 499 race weekend will be the first time Farm Rich has partnered with a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. Farm Rich makes wholesome, great-tasting frozen snack and appetizer products such as Farm Rich Mozzarella Sticks, Meatballs and Jalapeño Peppers. They are sold at grocery and club stores nationwide.
"Farm Rich is really happy to be involved with David Ragan, the No. 34 team and Front Row Motorsports," said Shannon Gilreath, Senior Brand Manager for Farm Rich. "Farm Rich fans love NASCAR, so this is a great way to put two of their favorite things together. It's going to be a great race and we think fans will be excited to see Farm Rich on the No. 34 car."
Sunday's Aaron's 499 will be Ragan's 13th Sprint Cup start at the 2.66-mile tri-oval, and Victory Lane could certainly be in Farm Rich and Ragan's sights. The 27-year-old driver has collected three top-five and five top-10 finishes at Talladega, including seventh- and fourth-place finishes in his last two trips to the superspeedway. His top career finish was a third-place result in 2008.
Comments from Farm Rich team driver David Ragan heading to Talladega:
"It's great to bring a new partner like Farm Rich into the sport. And what better place to do it than Talladega. Ask any NASCAR fan and they'll tell you that it's always one of the most exciting racetracks of the circuit. We were fast the first time we went speedway racing at Daytona in February and I expect we'll be fast again this weekend. We'll get the Farm Rich Ford running up front.
"Talladega's got a lot of grip. It's newly repaved a few years ago, so handling doesn't come into play as much, but it always provides for a good race. There's always a lot of strategy, from the leader to the guy running 20th to the guy running 30th that's saving his equipment 'til the end of the race. Everyone's on a little different strategy and that makes it interesting. It's fun to watch. The cars are going to be fast, they're going to be fun to drive, but there's a lot of things that can go wrong if you don't make the right decisions behind the wheel and on top of the pit box.
"Our Talladega cars are looking good. Our guys at the shop have worked hard getting those things fixed from Daytona. We just need to be there at the end. Speedway racing is a lot of fun for me. But at the same time it can be pretty frustrating if you're listening to the finish on the radio while you're going back to the airport. We just need to be cool and play it safe for the whole race and be there for the last fuel run.
"I think these new Gen-6 cars have got a little more mechanical grip with the rear-end housing, camber rule and a little bit more downforce, and it's a little lighter. So that's going to mean a little bit more speed. Obviously at the superspeedway, you've got to pay a lot of attention to your temperatures. Your engine performance is based upon how warm your water and oil temperatures stay all race long. And when you're running in those real tight packs, NASCAR regulates you with the air intake that you have going to the radiator. So you've got to be cognizant of what's going on around you the whole day so you've got an engine on eight cylinders to finish the race."
Talladega’s Annual Opener Has Been Good For The Wood Brothers
Talladega Superspeedway, site of this weekend’s Aaron's 499 has long been one of the favorite Sprint Cup stops for the Wood Brothers and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew.
That’s especially true for the track’s first race of the year – the Winston 500 in the early years and the Aaron’s 499 today.
From the day Donnie Allison got the first of the Woods five Talladega wins in the 1971 Winston 500 to Trevor Bayne’s eighth-place finish in the 499 last May, the Wood Brothers team seems to regularly find their way to the front of the giant Talladega pack in the track’s first race each year.
David Pearson, who took the Woods to Victory Lane all over America, could work his magic at Talladega too.
From 1972-1974, he swept the spring races at Talladega. His win 40 years ago especially stands out for the events that took place that afternoon. Just a week after Pearson drove a Wood Brothers Mercury designed for superspeedway competition to a surprise home-track victory for the Woods at Martinsville Speedway, he qualified the No. 21 Mercury on the outside pole at Talladega. Buddy Baker, who later would drive for the Woods, was the top qualifier.
Behind the lead duo were 58 other drivers, comprising the largest starting field ever for a modern-day Sprint Cup race. (Other Talladega races in that era had 50 drivers in the starting field.)
Baker took the lead on the initial start, and Pearson, the sly Silver Fox, was content to ride in second-place in the early going.
On Lap 10, Ramo Stott’s Mercury blew an engine, triggering a major crash on the backstretch.
Eddie Wood, one of the co-owners of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, was working in the pit area that day back in 1973.
“We didn’t have radios, and there was no TV, so you really didn’t know what was happening on the backstretch,” he said. “As the cars went down the backstretch, it got quiet.”
Wood and his fellow crewmembers could only look toward Turn Four and hope their No. 21 Mercury eventually would appear.
“I remember seeing Pearson come into sight, him and the 09 car,” Wood said. “They came back around, and then some of the others wrecked the second time around, there was such a mess on the backstretch.” All told, 21 drivers were involved in the crash with 19 cars too damaged to continue.
Pearson pitted during the caution period brought about by the crash, turning the lead over to the No. 09 Ford driven by Charles Barrett of Cleveland, Ga. Barrett led from Lap 24-36. It was the first time that his car owner, the late George Elliott, ever saw one of his cars lead a Cup race.
Barrett’s career was cut short by a highway crash, and two years later Elliott, one of the most loyal supporters ever of the Blue Oval brand, put his youngest son behind the wheel.
Bill Elliott went on to deliver 40 Cup victories for Ford along with the 1988 championship, and in addition, he wound up driving the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion from 2007-2010.
Barrett’s lead was short-lived, as he ran over debris from the crash and cut a tire. His ensuing pit stop gave the lead to J.D. McDuffie. But the independents and journeyman drivers who avoided the crash and shared time in the spotlight soon found themselves chasing Pearson.
The Silver Fox dominated the remainder of the race, leading 111 of 188 laps and was a lap ahead of runner-up Donnie Allison at the finish. For Eddie Wood, the memories from decades ago are made more special by the fact that 40 years later his team’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion is still considered a legitimate contender for the win at Talladega.
In its most recent run at Talladega last fall, Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 winner, took the No. 21 Fusion to the lead for five laps, made up a lost lap and was running fourth with four laps to go before his fuel-pressure gauge began fluctuating, sending him to pit road and an eventual 21st-place finish.
This time around, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew have prepared a new 2013 Ford Fusion, and Wood said it has all the signs of being another front-runner.
“It blew some good numbers in the wind tunnel, and we tested it two weeks ago at Daytona,” Wood said. “We’re really happy with it.”
Qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 is set for Saturday, May 4, at 12:10 p.m. Eastern Time with the race getting the green flag just after 1 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.
Wood Brothers Racing PR
Sprint Fan Vote Race Tightest In Years
Every driver wants to race his or her way into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, but if a checkered flag isn’t captured this weekend at Talladega or next at Darlington, those eligible will need to rely on the Sprint Fan Vote or finish first or second in the Sprint Showdown qualifying race.
To date, an average of only 19,500 votes separates the drivers currently in the top 10 positions for the Sprint Fan Vote. While that figure seems high, history shows its futility. In 2012, more than 1.2 million votes were cast during the last three campaign weeks. That’s an average of more than 57,000 votes each day and nearly 3,000 cast each hour. The race for the Sprint Fan Vote is anything but over.
Former Daytona 500 winners Bill Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Michael Waltrip are notable names on the roster campaigning for Sprint Fan Votes, as are 2013 Rookie of the Year candidates Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The 10 drivers leading the Sprint Fan Vote standings (in alphabetical order) are AJ Allmendinger, Jeff Burton, Elliott, Bobby Labonte, McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, Patrick, Stenhouse Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Waltrip.
In addition to accumulating the most votes, a Sprint Fan Vote-eligible driver must also finish the Sprint Showdown qualifying race on the lead lap with a car in “raceable” condition (as determined by NASCAR Competition) to earn a spot in the race field.
Fans can vote an unlimited number of times until 5 p.m. (EDT) on May 18 by downloading the NASCAR Mobile ’13 application or visiting NASCAR.com/SprintFanVote. Votes cast on NASCAR Mobile ’13 will count twice toward a driver’s total. The driver receiving the highest number of votes will earn a spot in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, which airs live at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED. Radio coverage on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio begins at 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
Tickets for the entire NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend are on sale now. Packages start at just $99 for all weekend events including scanner rental. To purchase tickets, call 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
Fans are encouraged to follow @MissSprintCup, @CLTMotorSpdwy and @NASCAR on Twitter to engage in the #SprintAllStar Race and #SprintFanVote conversations throughout the voting window.
Drivers eligible for the Sprint Fan Vote:
Juan Pablo Montoya
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Martin Truex Jr.
Sprint Motorsports PR
Kurt Busch’s Car to Carry Message About Furniture Row Honoring Military for Armed Forces Day
Fans of NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Travis Pastrana will get an opportunity to be up-close-and-personal with the X Games Champion when the driver of the No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing visits Darlington Raceway’s Jack Daniel’s Champions’ Club on Friday, May 10.
Pastrana will participate in a 15-minute question and answer session for fans that purchased the Jack Daniel’s Champions’ Club package for the Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 race. His appearance time is tentatively scheduled for 1:55 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.
Pastrana made his second career Nationwide Series start at Darlington in 2012, finishing 17th. In seven starts in 2013, he has three top-10 finishes including a career-best 9th at Richmond.
“We’re very excited to have a superstar like Travis Pastrana visit our Jack Daniel’s Champions’ Club on Friday before he races in the Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 race later that night,” Darlington Raceway Director of Corporate Sales Jeff Taylor said. “Pastrana is a household name in action sports and he’s really making a name for himself in the Nationwide Series. His appearance will add even more value to a great hospitality option for our fans.”
Jack Daniel’s Champions’ Club packages for Friday, May 10, are still available. Each package includes full meal and snacks, unlimited soda and water, a Darlington-branded gift and lanyard, cash bar with drink specials for guests 21 years of age or older and one (1) parking pass for every four packages purchased for only $110.
The Jack Daniel’s Champions’ Club is located on the infield in turn 3 and is open from 9:00 a.m. until 30 minutes after the race concludes.
Darlington Raceway PR
Two T-28 Trojan Aircraft to Perform Flyover at Talladega
Talladega Superspeedway fans are known for being patriotic, but this Sunday they will have more reason to feel proud to be an American a historic flyover takes them back to the earlier days of the speedway.
Two combat veteran T-28 Trojan aircraft from the Museum of Flight, Chattanooga’s Aviation Museum (TN) will soar above Talladega Superspeedway near the conclusion of the National Anthem to the road of thousands of fans, minutes before the start of the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series Race at NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track.
Lt. Col. Peyton “XMan” Dehart and Pete “Wheeler” O’Hare who both served in Vietnam, will pilot the aircraft, used by the United States Air Force and United States Navy beginning in the 1950s. The T-28 was successfully employed as a Counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft, primarily during the Vietnam War. They were produced from 1950-58 and was retired in 1994.
The flyover will occur at the end of the Star-Spangled Banner, which will be performed by recording artist Robin Meade, also host of HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade.” Moments later, fans will be treated to Talladega’s famous tradition of presenting an American flag on the back of a semi-truck as it barrels around the track. Sunday is guaranteed to become part of Talladega’s patriotic lore.
“Talladega Superspeedway and our great fans both have a long and storied history of being fiercely patriotic, and we wanted to continue that patriotism this year with aircraft that have helped protect our nation,” Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch said. “You can see the patched bullet holes on the Bravo model, and the Alpha model’s story is an incredible one.”
That story includes being sold by the US Navy to Honduras for only one dollar in 1969 and shortly thereafter downing an El Salvadorian P-51 during the 100-Hour War between Honduras and El Salvador.
Both aircraft can now be seen close up at the Museum of Flight, Chattanooga Aviation Museum, located in the suburban community of Hixson, TN.
No Break For NASCAR Driver Bryan Silas
Just because there’s a brief break in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule, it doesn’t mean that driver Bryan Silas has been soaking it up in the sun.
In fact, the Stuart, Florida native has barely had time to relax.
This past Monday and Tuesday, the full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver participated in a private test at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with the BMW Performance Driving School.
Silas utilized the advanced two-day road racing course as early preparation for the upcoming NCWTS road-course event this fall from Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“Testing at VIR was a lot of fun,” explained Silas. “Not only did I learn a lot about road racing, I also got to experience for myself what to expect and how to handle a car with elevation changes and extremely tight corners. I’ll be doing some more testing before the actual truck race arrives, but this is a great first step to prepare me for Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.”
The testing though doesn’t stop there.
This weekend, Silas will head to New York to get down and dirty to ready himself for the upcoming Inaugural Mudsummer Classic set for July 24 from Eldora (Oh.) Speedway.
The 25-year old will be a guest of four-time dirt champion Bryan Holland. Silas will experience the races hands-on by working with the crew, learning the racing format of old fashioned dirt car racing before taking to Canandaigua Speedway himself on Sunday for a private test session.
Despite previous dirt-track experience in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, visiting both Blackrock Speedway and Canandaigua Speedway this weekend will give the Floridian a better perspective on what to expect at Eldora in two months.
“I loved competing on the dirt in ARCA, but NASCAR is trying to make their inaugural truck race as close to the “real thing” as possible, so I have to get myself ready for what lies ahead,” sounded Silas. “I am very appreciative to Bryan (Holland), his team and fellow friends who are really eager to show me the ropes this weekend in New York. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’m eager to learn. I can’t wait to get there and get down to business.”